Apple's Safari update protects devices from Spectre flaw

Apple's Safari update protects devices from Spectre flaw

Apple's Safari update protects devices from Spectre flaw

Apple has released today security updates to mitigate the effects of the Spectre vulnerability that affects processors deployed with Apple devices such as smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. If you're interested in downloading it, it is available to download through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

First reported ahead of its official announcement as an Intel exclusive flaw, the security issues hitting nearly every modern computer were later revealed as three variants of two core vulnerabilities: The cross-vendor vulnerabilities Variant 1 and Variant 2, together known as Spectre, and the Intel-specific Variant 3, known as Meltdown. Meltdown-specific patches have already released for iOS (11.2), macOS (10.13.2), and tvOS (11.2).

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Apple hasn't disclosed exactly what security issues are addressed by iOS 11.2.2, but we can expect to see details on Apple's security page shortly.

Work continues on mitigating the impact of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, including adding protections against JavaScript exploitation to web browsers. 2 supplemental update for all supported devices.

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It's important to note that Spectre is being mitigated, not fixed, with these Safari-based workarounds, because it's a problem with modern CPU architecture and not a software issue. But it's unclear how easy it would be to do so.

Google also released mitigations for its many of products, and said a fix for its Chrome browser will be available later this month.

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Analysis of these techniques revealed that while they are extremely hard to exploit, even by an app running locally on a Mac or iOS device, they can be potentially exploited in JavaScript running in a web browser.

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