Apple devices are already protected against Meltdown without any hit to performance

06 January, 2018, 06:56 | Author: Becky Perry

The microchip flaw affects device running the company's iOS and macOS operating systems, as well as the Apple TV. "Of course, smartphone vendors can update software to fix the problem, but the move is expected to dent the performance of devices". With Spectre, it may be possible to compromise a machine via a Javascript exploit.

The vulnerabilities - which exist at a hardware level - put the onus on system creators such as Apple, Microsoft and Google to release patches at an operating system level to prevent hackers from exploiting the opportunity to steal passwords, credit card numbers and other vital details.

AMD, which originally said its chips were not subject to the flaws, has since reversed their stance and are down another 3% on Friday, as Intel rises.

Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich sold some US$39 million worth of stock and options in November, several months after Intel said it was notified by Google's security researchers of the security flaws affecting the company's chips.

Separately, Alibaba Group, owner of the South China Morning Post, said it would complete an update of its cloud computing systems next week to handle potential chip security issues.

But Intel said that it had found a fix for 90% of its processors made in the last five years and that the fix will be ready by the end of next week.

Apple says it has already "released mitigations in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to help defend against Meltdown".

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Unauthorized access will be hard to detect so cloud-computing providers need to act quickly to protect against these vulnerabilities, said Ryan Kalember, senior vice president of cybersecurity at Proofpoint.

There are limits to what consumers can do now to protect their computers.

That's not to say nothing can be done.

Apple simply distributed another help archive clarifying that iOS and macOS could be assaulted by the newfound (and exceptionally risky) Meltdown and Specter misuses. Mozilla says it's also implementing a short-term mitigation that disables some capabilities of its Firefox browser.

But Intel said in a statement after US stock markets closed on Thursday that the performance impact of the recent security updates should not be significant and would be mitigated over time.

Apple further explains that for these bugs to really affect one's systems, they need to rely on apps with malicious code. "If you aren't up to date, then there's a lot of other nasties out there you should probably also be worrying about".

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