Apple says Meltdown and Spectre flaws affect all Mac and iOS devices

Hardware fixes are by nature much slower and more difficult than software fixes. tcareob72/Thinkstock

Macs and iOS devices are vulnerable to Spectre attacks through code that can run in web browsers.

The issues - Spectre and Meltdown - are flaws in computer chips which could, in theory, allow hackers to steal data from affected systems.

The company said that since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded onto the Mac or iOS device, people are being asked to only download software from trusted sources such as the App Store.

According to media reports and statements issued by cybersecurity experts, the hardware bugs could allow malicious software installed on the devices to get access to the information without responding to the operating systems that should prevent such software from doing this.

Spectre is a name covering two different exploitation techniques known as CVE-2017-5753 or "bounds check bypass", and CVE-2017-5715 or "branch target injection".

Apple says it as of now discharged "alleviations" in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to help safeguard against Meltdown.

"All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time", the firm said in the statement.

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Apple has promised to roll-out security patch for Safari browser application to help defend against Spectre soon.

Meltdown does not affect the Apple Watch, it said, as the bug was an issue with Intel processors which are not contained in that device. Microsoft has already rolled out "patches" to protect many PC users.

Even so, as Devin Coldewey reports for Techcrunch: "If you're wondering why people keep saying, "mitigate" instead of "fix" or "counteract" or something, it's because Meltdown and Spectre take advantage of computing practices so basic that avoiding them is extremely hard and complex".

Now, the California tech giant has confirmed that it has released mitigations for macOS and iOS as well as Safari on the App Store.

As far as it matters for its, Intel said in an announcement on Thursday that it "has created and is quickly issuing refreshes for a wide range of Intel-based PC frameworks-including PCs and servers-that render those frameworks invulnerable from the two endeavors... detailed by Google Project Zero", whose specialists helped unobtrusively find the defects a year ago.

The flaws were first reported by tech publication The Register.

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