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giftedviz.com January 20, 2018


All Macs, iPhones, iPads exposed to chip flaw

05 January 2018, 12:38 | Ross Houston

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

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

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.

Apple says it as of now discharged "alleviations" in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to help safeguard against Meltdown.

Besides, as per a report published on The guardian.com, Apple is also developing protections against the Spectre flaw for its Safari browser for iOS and macOS devices. Interestingly, the Apple Watch is said to be immune. The company pledged to issue updates to the Safari web browser in the coming days "to help mitigate against Spectre", which affects processors from Intel and nearly all suppliers, including AMD and Arm Holdings.

Apple this evening has officially released a statement on the Meltdown and Spectre bugs affecting ARM and Intel processors.

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.

The company said that since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded onto the Mac or iOS device, people are being asked to only download software from trusted sources such as the App Store.

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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.

Meltdown is the slightly more interesting case because fixes for it necessarily change the way CPUs handle memory and the aforementioned "speculative execution". Meltdown appears to be specific to chips made by Intel. In addition, many operating system vendors, public cloud service providers, device manufacturers and others have indicated that they have already updated their products and services.

The experts have advised users to keep their computers and smart devices up to date.

Intel said that "for the average user", the performance impact on products using the processors from the last five years "should not be significant and will be mitigated over time".

There aren't any processors available at the moment that can replace the vulnerable ones and still provide the same kind of functionality.

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