Apple: All iOS Devices and Mac Systems Affected by Meltdown and Spectre

Apple is not immune to either Meltdown or Spectre, the bugs in basic architecture of computing that were announced this week to the amazement and widespread horror of many.

Apple, in its announcement, said that all of the iOS devices and Mac systems are affected, but mitigations are already in place or will soon be arriving.

Simply put, if that is possible, a few tricks that processors have used for several decades have serious vulnerabilities and could be used to help reveal all types of protected data to those who look to exploit those types of things.

Fortunately, as Apple says, there are not any known exploits that are affecting customers currently. However, it will not remain like that for long, and to prevent being a victim of this type of exploitation check to make sure all devices are up to date.

For many devices this was taken care of quite some time ago. Apple released its Meltdown mitigations in its iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2 and with tvOS. 11.2 The Apple Watch is not affected, since Meltdown is involved with Intel processors and it does not have any. Reports however had warned of hits to performance, Apple said it did not observe any measurable reduction in any benchmark scores.

As for Spectre, which is the more difficult of the two to fix, has patches on the way. Apple will be releasing an update for Safari on both iOS and macOS in the upcoming days that will mitigate the exploit techniques.

Mitigating appears the only way to go, as fixing is nearly impossible since both Meltdown and Spectre can take advantage of the most basic of computing practices and that avoiding them can be extremely difficult as well as complex.

In all likelihood there are new variants that might circumvent protections that companies have already put together over the past couple of months during which time the exploits had been kept secret. The patches and mitigation will likely grow in number.

Since the current exploits seem only to apply to code running natively on a device, the advice Apple has is to download software only from sources that are trusted like its App Store.

More news is expected to follow by Apple as to when to expect their latest patch and or any other new mitigation.

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