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Macs and iOS devices also affected by Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities

12 Janvier 2018

The issue was discovered by Google and academic researchers previous year, and they had been working with the tech firms to try to put a fix in place before releasing any information on the problem.

Here's the issue: Modern processors are created to perform something called "speculative execution" to enhance performance.

Considering the issues affect virtually all processors, your computer and smartphone are likely impacted.

Details have emerged on two major processor security flaws this week, and the industry is scrambling to issue fixes and secure machines for customers.

For now, there's only one thing you can do: Update your devices and browser software when the updates are made available.

Some experts say that to completely get rid of the risks created by the flaws, the affected processors need to be replaced entirely. Somewhat fortunately, execution of Spectre is more difficult than that of Meltdown...but also much, much harder to mitigate.

The vulnerabilities could allow a hacker to steal your passwords and other sensitive information. Apple said it had released software patches for iOS, Macs and the Apple TV that help mitigate the issue. Meanwhile, the company is expected to release an update for Safari on macOS and iOS in the coming days to help prevent potential Spectre exploits that would use JavaScript.

"Therefore, we recommend that ESET users keep track of any related patches for their systems and apply them as soon as possible".

Apple has confirmed that its devices are vulnerable to the Meltdown and Spectre attacks disclosed by security researchers yesterday.

In response to the reports, Intel issued a statement saying that the vulnerability did not just affect its processors, that any performance slowdowns would not be significant, and that solutions were now being worked on to fix the issue.

In a blog post, Google outlined what customers needed to do saying: "This document lists affected Google products and their current status of mitigation against CPU speculative execution attack methods". And although security patches exist for devices running Linux, Windows, and OS X, the researchers said, the fix may slow down their performance by as much as 30 percent, according to some estimates. Google released those changes to its Android partners last month.

And Microsoft has already released fixes for many of its services. Other web browsers, such as Edge, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, already have patches in place in their respective latest versions. Krebs on Security also provides a rundown on the threat. To protect against Spectre and Meltdown malware Google already has issued some security updates.

To download Microsoft's patch on your own, you have to manually set the Windows registry key on your computer.

Macs and iOS devices also affected by Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities