IOS and macOS updates available now address Spectre vulnerabilities

Intel produces white paper, benchmark on Meltdown, Spectre

When the news broke last week of two side-channel attacks - Spectre and Meltdown - Apple stated that it had already released mitigations for Meltdown in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2, and that fixes for Spectre would follow.

Apple said last week all of its iOS and Mac devices were affected by the flaws, and it already released updates to mitigate against Meltdown. The researchers responsible for discovering the bug, including Google's Jann Horn, are thanked in the acknowledgments.

ARM is the company behind an architecture that has been shipped in more than four billion chips installed in everything from smartphones to factories, and which is inside chips vulnerable to the Spectre flaw. The three updates make changes to iOS, macOS and the Safari browser itself.

Overnight Apple has released the latest update to their mobile OS, with iOS 11.2.2 delivering a security update that patches the Spectre security vulnerabilities. Tech companies typically withhold details about security problems until fixes are available so that hackers wouldn't have a roadmap to exploit the flaws.

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A supplemental update in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 is available today that uses similar Safari work-arounds to address the Spectre vulnerability. - Reuters picThe Apple Watch, which runs a derivative of the iPhone's operating system, is not affected by either Meltdown or Spectre, according to the company.

Google said in a blog post Wednesday that its popular web browser Chrome, its cloud services and other applications have been or will soon be updated to protect against the newly disclosed vulnerabilities.

Meltdown was the most urgent and easily patchable of the flaws, but other vulnerabilities have typically required patches at the processor and software level. To install it go to Settings General Software Update. If you're interested in downloading it, it is available to download through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

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