Warning to Apple users: you might want to download the emergency software updates immediately as Apple is warning of a flaw that allows hackers to seize control of iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers.
The patches were released on Wednesday and Thursday to mend what Apple called a “vulnerability” that hackers already knew of and may be abusing.
The tech titan stated that it was made aware through a report that this flaw may have been “actively exploited”.
However, the company did not disclose whether it had information about the extent in which the issue was exploited.
Even if Apple had the information, it would never release it for public consumption; just imagine the reputational damage and pandemonium it would cause.
Apple also published two security reports about the issue two days ago, but it did not receive much attention outside of the tech sphere.
The provided technical description wrote that a hacker could take advantage of the issue to gain access to its data and capabilities, as well as take control of the electronic devices.
It would also allow the hacker to mimic the device’s owner and consequently run any software under their name, said Rachel Tobac, CEO of SocialProof Security.
The affected devices include iPhone 6S and later models, all iPad pro models and iPad Air 2, and any Mac computers running on MacOS Monterey.
The flaw extends to some iPod models as well—but seriously, who uses an iPod these days when a single smartphone covers all kinds of functions?
Why would hackers want your music playlists anyway?
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Apart from keeping quiet about the extent in which the flaw was exploited, Apple did not reveal how, where, or who discovered the vulnerabilities. It merely cited an anonymous researcher.
Was it a white hacker, perhaps? Whoever it was, they deserve huge kudos for telling Apple about the flaw instead of making the most out of it.
Prior to this incident, Apple admitted that it faced similarly serious flaws.
According to security researcher Will Strafach, he has observed a dozen other occasions where security holes have been exploited.
He also notes that there has been no technical analysis about the vulnerabilities that Apple just fixed.
There are commercial spyware companies out there, like NSO group from Israel, who is known for identifying and exploiting such software flaws.
Typically, such groups would secretly plant malware in their victims’ phone, then extract its content and monitor their targets in real time.
That is some messed up, stalkerish behaviour. Seek help man.
The NSO group has since been blacklisted by the US Commerce Department.
The group is active in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, and they tend to use their spyware against journalists, dissidents and human rights activists.
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