Meltdown and Spectre Flaws: Apple admits Mac and iOS devices affected

News of the Meltdown and Spectre bugs has taken the technology world by storm the last couple of days. Now, Apple has admitted its products are also affected, with all Mac and iOS devices understood to be vulnerable to the Intel-related CPU flaws  – including iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, the Apple TV and more. 

Following a whirlwind of security-related speculation, the Cupertino-based tech giant has penned a blog post revealing that “all Mac systems and iOS devices are affected” but reassures that “there are no known exploits..at this time.”

The company continues:

“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’s devices are widely regarded as among the most secure on the market thanks to the firm’s ‘walled garden’ approach to software-level security. However, most of its phones, laptops, tablets, and computers use components from chip makers such as Intel – read our full guide to the Intel Meltdown bug problem – and ARM, which are vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre.

Meltdown is a flaw specific to Intel chips that can be exploited to steal secure credentials such as passwords and credit card details. Spectre, on the other hand, carries no party affiliation and exploits fundamental processor design flaws. As such, it also affects components made by ARM, AMD, and others.

Apple adds that it has already released Meltdown-related patches for iOS (v11.2), macOS (v10.13.2) and tVOS (v11.2), and our advice is to download these right away if you have an at-risk device.

The iPhone X manufacturer adds that Safari-level patches for macOS and iOS are on the way with a view to better shielding Apple devices from the longer-term threat posed by Spectre.

Apple Watch owner? You can breathe easy, as the company says it’s not affected.

While clouds of uncertainty still hover over the Meltdown and Spectre saga, one thing now seems certain: security, not fancy new self-driving car tech, is likely to be the big talking point at CES 2018 next week.

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