All iPhones, iPads and Mac devices affected by 'Meltdown' and 'Spectre' bugs

Audrey Hill
January 5, 2018

Intel continues to believe that the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.

According to a statement by the company, the vulnerabilities dubbed Meltdown and Spectre could allow hackers to get access to sensitive information on the users' computers and other devices.

So what should Apple users do?

Furthermore, the company says that it has already released patches in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to address the Meltdown vulnerabilities. In the coming days we plan to release mitigations in Safari to help defend against Spectre.

The tech giant said it is working on software updates to fix a pair of vulnerabilities which affect Apple gadgets as well as "all modern processors and affect almost all computing devices and operating systems".

But it advised downloading software only from trusted sources to avoid "malicious" apps.

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"There are no known exploits impacting customers at this time", it said.

While Meltdown is specific to Intel chips, Spectre affects chips from Intel, AMD and Arm.

The issues - Spectre and Meltdown - are flaws in computer chips which could, in theory, allow hackers to steal data from affected systems.

Even so, as Devin Coldewey reports for Techcrunch: "If you're wondering why people keep saying, "mitigate" instead of "fix" or "counteract" or something, it's because Meltdown and Spectre take advantage of computing practices so basic that avoiding them is extremely hard and complex". Data is supposed to be protected and isolated, but researchers discovered that in some cases, the information can be exposed while the processor queues it up. Meltdown appears to be specific to chips made by Intel. However, the Cupertino tech giant has said that its users don't need to worry as updates are already available to fix the issues.

Fixing the problems will slow a computer's performance, experts say, especially on devices more than five years old.

Apple says none of the security fixes it's discharged have caused quantifiable performance diminishes in Apple gadgets, and it doesn't anticipate that future patches will do as such either. But that's not realistically going to happen anytime soon.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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