A major security flaw in Intel chipsets was discovered this week, and this essentially affects nearly all PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones out there. Apple has put out a statement saying that the Meltdown and Spectre bugs affect “all Mac systems and iOS devices”.
“Security researchers have recently uncovered security issues known by two names, Meltdown and Spectre. These issues apply to all modern processors and affect nearly all computing devices and operating systems. All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time,” Apple says.
Apple further explains that for these bugs to really affect one’s systems, they need to rely on apps with malicious code. It again warns users against downloading apps from unknown sources, and only stick to those available on the App Store.
“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,” the company adds. “Apple has already released mitigations in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to help defend against Meltdown. Apple Watch is not affected by Meltdown. In the coming days we plan to release mitigations in Safari to help defend against Spectre.”
What about other users?
While Apple has taken (and taking) measures against protecting users against Meltdown and Spectre, so have others. Microsoft recently released a patch for Windows 10, and other versions should be updated by next week – January 9. Google too has listed out a set of devices and software that need to be updated to the latest version for protection against these bugs.
What you need to do?
Meltdown and Spectre have the potential to affect nearly all kinds of devices that have a CPU. In other words, everything from PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets and smartphones are potentially at risk. So one needs to ensure that their devices are running the latest operating system available from the manufacturer.
Those on Windows devices need to have auto updates enabled, and update them as soon as one is available. Macs or Chromebooks usually auto-update, or notify users when an update is available. Similarly, mobile devices too tend to notify users when an update is available.