Apple: All iPhones, iPads, Macs Affected By Chip Flaws

Hardware fixes are by nature much slower and more difficult than software fixes. tcareob72/Thinkstock

"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", Apple said.

Meltdown and Spectre, the bugs affecting most chips have hit Apple as well. The Cupertino-based technology giant added that to actually exploit these vulnerabilities and carry out an attack will require that a malicious app be loaded onto the particular Mac or iOS device.

The flaws came to light earlier this week after researchers discovered the security hole which could allow privately stored data in computers and networks to be leaked.

Meltdown does not affect the Apple Watch, it said, as the bug was an issue with Intel processors which are not contained in that device.

Yesterday, we told you about a pair of exploits called Meltdown and Spectre.

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Companies scrambled yesterday (Jan. 3) to release patches for Windows and Android devices, with speculation mounting that the flaws, which apply to most modern processors, impacted Apple's devices, too. Apple has put out a statement saying that the Meltdown and Spectre bugs affect "all Mac systems and iOS devices".

Macs and iOS devices are vulnerable to Spectre attacks through code that can run in web browsers including Apple's own Safari. Apple says, however, that its December 2017 update for iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 showed no measurable reduction in performance according to benchmarking tools. Expect updates to Safari for iOS and macOS in the coming days that will mitigate that vulnerability, Apple says.

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". We continue to develop and test further mitigations within the operating system for the Spectre techniques, and will release them in upcoming updates of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

A PAIR of security vulnerabilities affect virtually all Apple products but are not now affecting users, the company said.

The circumstances that could lead to using the Spectre vulnerability might be a bit more hard to achieve but can still be done using Javascript running on a web browser.

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