Apple Confirms All Mac, iOS Devices Affected By Meltdown & Spectre Bugs

Apple Confirms All Mac, iOS Devices Affected By Meltdown & Spectre Bugs

Apple Confirms All Mac, iOS Devices Affected By Meltdown & Spectre Bugs

The company says that watchOS is not affected by Meltdown. They both rely on the ability to very precisely measure time to deliver exploits that leak memory data.

The scramble to harden a broad array of devices comes after researchers found two significant vulnerabilities within modern computing hardware, one of which can not be fully resolved as of yet.

The vulnerabilities, named Meltdown and Spectre, could allow hackers to steal sensitive information, including passwords, and affected millions of machines using Intel and AMD computer chips.

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. "This might include your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your personal photos, emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents", according to a website created about the bugs. Web-based attacks are the most risky because they are easier to carry out.

"Every Intel processor which implements out-of-order execution is potentially affected, which is effectively every processor since 1995 (except Intel Itanium and Intel Atom before 2013)".

Those companies make the most popular processors, which means a huge range of popular computing devices are at risk.

Patch management is a critically important tool for staying on top of fixes for vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre.

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Essentially, the vulnerabilities affect the kernel of the chips and could allow an attacker to read information that should otherwise be inaccessible.

"Spectre breaks the isolation between different applications".

Intel, AMD, and ARM processors are affected (basically nearly every system). They are urging Intel to fix the problem and to offer those affected compensation for any losses that have occurred.

Intel also played down concerns about slowed performance because of the updates, noting that for the "average computer user", the impact should not be significant and will lessen over time. AMD claims that their processors have a near "zero risk" of exploitation, except one variant of the exploits, which can be resolved with an update.

Microsoft said in a statement Wednesday that it had updated "the majority" of its Azure cloud infrastructure, though some aspects "are still being updated and require a reboot of customer [virtual machines] for the security update to take effect".

Now, the California tech giant has confirmed that it has released mitigations for macOS and iOS as well as Safari on the App Store.

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