technology

Apple Says All Macs, iPhones and iPads Exposed to Chip Security Flaws

Updated on
  • Company says recent software updates mitigate Meltdown flaw
  • Fixes won’t slow down devices; users not currently affected
Bloomberg’s Jeremy Kahn reports on the impact of chip security flaws on Apple iOS devices.

Apple Inc. said all Mac computers and iOS devices, like iPhones and iPads, are affected by chip security flaws unearthed this week, but the company stressed there are no known exploits impacting users.

The Cupertino, California-based company said recent software updates for iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, Mac desktops and laptops, and the Apple TV set-top-box mitigate one of the vulnerabilities known as Meltdown.

Despite concern that fixes may slow down devices, Apple said its steps to address the Meltdown issue haven’t dented performance. The company will release an update to its Safari web browser in coming days to defend against another form of the security flaw known as Spectre. These steps could slow the speed of the browser by less than 2.5 percent, Apple said in a statement posted on its website.

The Apple Watch, which runs a derivative of the iPhone’s operating system, is not affected by either Meltdown or Spectre, according to the company. 

Apple shares rose 1 percent to $174.80 at 3:01 p.m. Friday in New York.

All About That Big Chip Security Weakness: QuickTake Q&A

Intel Corp. on Wednesday confirmed a report stating that its semiconductors contain a vulnerability based around a chip-processing technique called speculative execution. Intel said its chips, which power Macs and devices from other manufacturers, contain the flaw as well as processors based on ARM Holdings architecture, which is used in iOS devices and Android smartphones.

In December, Apple came under fire for iPhone software changes that reduced the performance of some older models of its smartphone. Alongside an apology and an explanation that a software change was implemented to balance out the effect of aging batteries, the company reduced the cost of replacing the power units from $79 to $29 through the end of 2018.

For more on the iPhone, check out the Decrypted podcast:

Security experts have said highly regulated sectors of industry, such as government offices and public health institutions, are most at risk of compromise as a result of the chip security vulnerability.

— With assistance by Nate Lanxon

(Updates with Apple Watch unaffected by Spectre in the fourth paragraph.)
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