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Apple Reveals Serious Security Flaws Affecting iPhone, iPad, Mac Models; Experts Urge Users to Update Devices

Apple’s explanation of the vulnerability means a hacker could get “full admin access" to the device.

Apple Reveals Serious Security Flaws Affecting iPhone, iPad, Mac Models; Experts Urge Users to Update Devices

Apple's iPhone 12 (pictured) was also affected by the vulnerability patched in the latest iOS update

Highlights
  • Apple issued software updates for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this week
  • The updates resolve serious security flaws on affected devices
  • Experts are urging users to update to the latest software version

Apple disclosed serious security vulnerabilities for iPhone, iPad and Mac models that could potentially allow attackers to take complete control of these devices. Apple released two security reports about the issue on Wednesday, although they didn't receive wide attention outside of tech publications. Apple's explanation of the vulnerability means a hacker could get “full admin access" to the device. That would allow intruders to impersonate the device's owner and subsequently run any software in their name, said Rachel Tobac, CEO of SocialProof Security.

Security experts have advised users to update affected devices — the iPhone 6s and later models; several models of the iPad, including the 5th generation iPad and later, all iPad Pro models and the iPad Air 2; and Mac computers running MacOS Monterey. The flaw also affects some iPod models.

Apple did not say in the first or second report how, where or by whom the vulnerabilities were discovered. In all cases, it cited an anonymous researcher.

Commercial spyware companies such as Israel's NSO Group are known for identifying and taking advantage of such flaws, exploiting them in malware that surreptitiously infects targets' smartphones, siphons their contents and surveils the targets in real time.

NSO Group has been blacklisted by the US Commerce Department. Its spyware is known to have been used in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America against journalists, dissidents and human rights activists.

Security researcher Will Strafach said he had seen no technical analysis of the vulnerabilities that Apple has just patched. The company has previously acknowledged similarly serious flaws and, in what Strafach estimated to be perhaps a dozen occasions, has noted that it was aware of reports that such security holes had been exploited.


Will the 2022 iPhone SE sink or swim? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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Further reading: Apple, iPhone, iPad, Mac, iOS, iPadOS, macOS, NSO Group
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