Apple users should update phones, computers due to security risk

The software flaws could potentially allow attackers to take complete control of these devices, Apple said in two security reports.

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple has disclosed serious security vulnerabilities for iPhones, iPads and Macs that could potentially allow attackers to take complete control of these devices.

Apple released two security reports on the issue on Wednesday, although they haven’t received much attention outside of technical publications.

Apple’s explanation of the vulnerability means a hacker could gain “full administrative access” to the device. That would allow intruders to pose as the device’s owner and then run any software on their behalf, said Rachel Tobac, CEO of SocialProof Security.

Security experts have advised users to update affected devices – the iPhone6S and later models; multiple models of iPad, including 5th generation and later, all iPad Pro models, and the iPad Air 2; and Mac computers running MacOS Monterey. The bug also affects some iPod models.

Apple did not say in the reports how, where, or by whom the vulnerabilities were discovered. In all cases, an anonymous researcher was quoted.

Commercial spyware companies such as Israel’s NSO Group are known to identify and exploit such vulnerabilities by exploiting them in malware that stealthily infects target people’s smartphones, siphons their content and monitors the targets in real-time.

NSO Group has been blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce. Its spyware is known to have been used against journalists, dissidents and human rights activists in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Security researcher Will Straach said he didn’t see a technical analysis of the vulnerabilities that Apple just patched. The company has previously acknowledged similarly serious shortcomings, noting what Strafach estimated at perhaps a dozen times that it was aware of reports that such vulnerabilities were being exploited.

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