Sunday 8 December 2019

Now your iPhone might be at risk from hackers due to flaws

Apple has warned its products including the new iPhone X (pictured) must be updated to protect from hackers
Apple has warned its products including the new iPhone X (pictured) must be updated to protect from hackers
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

The number of personal gadgets potentially affected by the latest IT security bugs has widened, with Apple admitting its iPhones and iPads could be at risk.

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

"Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store."

The separate security flaws, known as 'Meltdown' and 'Spectre', have caused computer companies and software giants to rush through upgrades before hackers start taking advantage.

The problems are based on recently discovered vulnerabilities with chips built into most of the world's computers, phones and work PCs. The weakness could allow hackers or computer viruses to tunnel right down to a computer's chip, from where it has much greater access to sensitive information such as credit card data and other valuable figures.

So far, there have been no confirmed reports of hacking attacks or data breaches based on the new security issues.

At first, it was thought that it was Intel chips, estimated to be in 90pc of the world's computers, that were most at risk. However, researchers have since widened the risk to machines using AMD and mobile-centric ARM chips.

Meanwhile, the Irish Data Protection Commission says it stands ready to probe what effects the security episode might have on citizens.

It has said that it was "proactively contacted" by Intel over the issue and that it is waiting to see "what steps Intel proposes to take as we receive the information".


However, Helen Dixon's offices said: "The issues are of a nature that will involve multiple regulators in the EU" and that the Irish office "will be liaising with its counterparts in Europe to coordinate positions and to establish what estimated timelines the cloud providers are working towards".

Some IT experts have warned that even with security patches in place, the performance and battery life of a PC could be degraded.

While initial reports calculated this risk of slow performance at up to 30pc, Intel has vigorously disputed the figure.

Irish Independent

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