Apple Releases Security Updates for Spectre CPU Flaw

Apple has released new security updates for iPhones, iPads, and Macs to protect users from a computer chip vulnerability known as Spectre.

iPhone and iPad users are urged to update their software immediately via the device's General Settings section. Tech companies, such as Microsoft, Google, Apple and others, scrambled to issue patches to prevent hackers from taking advantage of the vulnerabilities.

The patches mitigate two security bugs (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715) collectively referred to as Spectre. The Meltdown was previously addressed in the initial macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 update and Apple stated that it would further introduce a further reduction in the severity of Spectre in macOS and iOS early this week. Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store.

Apple said last week all of its iOS and Mac devices were affected by the flaws, and it already released updates to mitigate against Meltdown.

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The other side of the recent security discovery was Meltdown which was addressed in the iOS 11.2 update.

There is no evidence these flaws have been exploited. 2 supplemental update for all supported devices. But it's unclear how easy it would be to do so. Microsoft has claimed that 'the majority of Azure [cloud platform] customers should not see a noticeable performance impact with this update [as] we've worked to optimise the CPU and disk I/O path and are not seeing noticeable performance impact after the fix has been applied, ' while rival Amazon says similar of its own Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Analysis of these techniques revealed that while they are extremely hard to exploit, even by an app running locally on a Mac or iOS device, they can be potentially exploited in JavaScript running in a web browser.

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