Apple release iOS 11.2.2 update to address Spectre

Hacking and bugs: Intel Inside digging its own grave

Hacking and bugs: Intel Inside digging its own grave

The Spectre security update for iOS and macOS can be accessed by using the Software Update mechanism in the respective operating systems.

First reported ahead of its official announcement as an Intel exclusive flaw, the security issues hitting nearly every modern computer were later revealed as three variants of two core vulnerabilities: The cross-vendor vulnerabilities Variant 1 and Variant 2, together known as Spectre, and the Intel-specific Variant 3, known as Meltdown.

"There are no known exploits impacting customers at this time", Apple said in a statement on Thursday.

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When the news broke last week of two side-channel attacks - Spectre and Meltdown - Apple stated that it had already released mitigations for Meltdown in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2, and that fixes for Spectre would follow.

iOS 11.2.2 and a supplemental update for macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 have been released with that exact aim in mind. 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. Google disclosed the existence of these CPU flaws last week.

Both flaws affect something called "speculative execution" in modern computer chips, but they can be abused in different ways.

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The Windows 10 flavor of the patch ( KB4056892 ) is also causing bootup problems for some users with AMD-based systems. The faulty design has been present in chips for years and it will force a redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels.

Although companies continue to roll out fixes, experts say hackers may soon attempt to exploit the flaws on devices that haven't been updated. The Safari update also addresses Spectre risks. But it's unclear how easy it would be to do so. There are reports the Microsoft fix (Security Update for Windows KB4056892) bricks some AMD systems.

The good news is users who keep their web browsers, apps and devices up-to-date should be protected from anyone trying to exploit these vulnerabilities.

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