Apple reveals huge hacker risk for iPhones, iPads and Macs

·2-min read

Apple has disclosed serious security vulnerabilities for iPhones, iPads and Macs that could potentially allow attackers to take complete control of these devices.

Apple released two security reports about the issue on Wednesday, although they did not 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.

 The line-up of the Apple iPhone 13 is displayed on their first day of sale, in New York. Source: AP
Security reports reveal a hacker could get 'full admin access' to the Apple devices. Source: AP

Security experts have advised users to update affected devices: the iPhone6S and later models; several models of the iPad, including the fifth generation 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 reports 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.

People shop at an Apple Store in Beijing, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. Source: AP
Apple did not say in the reports how, where or by whom the vulnerabilities were discovered. Source: AP

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 it was aware of reports that such security holes had being exploited.

How do I fix this?

The good news? There’s an easy fix: you should be able to find easily. Start with the Settings app, the one with an icon featuring what looks like gears in an old watch.

Go into the “General” section, then “Software Update.” The page you see will offer simple instructions or, if your device has already updated, a message to that effect.

The whole process typically only takes a few minutes, according to security experts.

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