IOS and macOS updates available now address Spectre vulnerabilities

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. Google disclosed the existence of these CPU flaws last week.

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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This is not the first time that Apple has addressed the issue. Both of these are already available to download and install onto supported devices. Likewise, the macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Supplemental Update uses similar language with regards to stamping out the Spectre threat. The software update highlights security improvements and Apple "recommends for all users".

The patches mitigate two security bugs (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715) collectively referred to as Spectre. The three updates make changes to iOS, macOS, and Safari itself, but in each case, the stated goal is protecting Safari and the underlying browser engine against attacks exploiting the recently published Spectre vulnerability. But it's unclear how easy it would be to do so.

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

Microsoft has also issued an update for Windows users - KB4056892 - although some users are reporting problems after installing it on AMD-powered PCs.

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The good news is users who keep their web browsers, apps and devices up-to-date should be protected from anyone trying to exploit these vulnerabilities.

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