Apple warns iPhones, iPads and Mac computers hit by Intel flaw

Hardware fixes are by nature much slower and more difficult than software fixes. tcareob72/Thinkstock

These issues apply to all modern processors and affect almost all computing devices and operating systems.

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.

But it advised downloading software only from trusted sources to avoid "malicious" apps. However, Apple says that it has already released mitigations in iOS 11.2 that protect iPhone units, iPod touches and iPad tablets from Meltdown.

Meltdown does not affect the Apple Watch, it said, as the bug was an issue with Intel processors which are not contained in that device. We continue to develop and test further mitigations for these issues and will release them in upcoming updates of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. The most likely way that malicious code could get on your device would be through a web browser; Apple plans to issue a fix for Safari on Macs and iOS devices in coming days that would address that threat. Speculative execution improves speed by operating on multiple instructions at once-possibly in a different order than when they entered the CPU. If the prediction was wrong, this speculative execution is rolled back in a way that is meant to be invisible to software.

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Apple confirmed that its devices can be struck by bugs like Meltdown and Spectre. The company's full statement, available through a new support document covering Meltdown and Spectre, is below: Security researchers have recently uncovered security issues known by two names, Meltdown and Spectre.

There's no evidence that bad actors have yet exploited the bugs, but companies from Microsoft to Mozilla said they have worked to patch up vulnerabilities to their operating systems.

Apple explains that Meltdown "has the the most potential to be exploited", while Spectre is "extremely difficult" to exploit. Apple says that this update can slow the browser, but by no more than 2.5%. The company has also issued updates on iOS, MacOS, tvOS to protect customers against these flaws.

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