All iPhones, iPads and Mac devices affected by 'Meltdown' and 'Spectre' bugs

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionWatch Chip hacks explained

All iPhones, iPads and Mac computers are affected by Meltdown and Spectre bugs, Apple has told users of its devices.

But the most recent operating system updates for Mac computers, Apple TVs, iPhones and iPads protect users against the Meltdown attack, which does not affect the Apple Watch. However, Apple says that it has already released mitigations in iOS 11.2 that protect iPhone units, iPod touches and iPad tablets from Meltdown.

Google and Microsoft have already issued statements telling users which products are affected by the bugs.

Apple Inc will release a patch for the Safari web browser on its iPhones, iPads and Macs within days, it said on Thursday, after major chipmakers disclosed flaws that leave almost every modern computing device vulnerable to hackers. Apple also added that since it would take a malicious app to set off Meltdown or Spectre, it recommends that iOS and Mac users install apps from a trusted source only, such as the App Store.

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The issues - Spectre and Meltdown - are flaws in computer chips which could, in theory, allow hackers to steal data from affected systems. "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. Apple is also working on patches and updates to defend against Spectre and will release them as and when they're ready.

Apple hasn't issued any fixes that would specifically address the Spectre exploit. Apple notes, however, that Spectre can be exploited in JavaScript running in a web browser. Ben Johnson, co-founder and chief strategist for cyber security firm Carbon Black, said the delay in updating customers about whether Apple's devices are at risk could affect Apple's drive to get more business customers to adopt its hardware. "We continue to develop and test further mitigations for these issues and will release them in upcoming updates of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS", reads the statement.

Intel on Wednesday confirmed a report stating that its semiconductors contain a vulnerability based around a chip-processing technique called speculative execution.

"Check with your operating system vendor or system manufacturer and apply any available updates as soon as they are available", the company said.


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