Apple just issued a security update that you must download as soon as possible.
We’re more dependent on our mobile devices now than ever before, making mobile essential.
Viruses don’t just affect desktop or laptop computers. With millions of iPhone and Android phones used today, it makes sense that hackers would eventually target them. And the numbers prove this: An incredible 25% of all mobile devices are hit with cyberattacks, and 1,023,108,267 records were stolen from mobile devices in 2014.
So, when a company as big as Apple issues an urgent security update and tells iPhone and iPad owners to download and install it right away, you should listen. Apple’s recent iOS and MacOS update, released July 21, 2017, defends against a particularly dangerous vulnerability named Broadpwn.
Broadpwn is a serious threat, according to the National Vulnerability Database at the National Institute of Standards and Technology or NIST. It gets a 9.8 out of 10 in terms of a severity, and is scored as “critical.”
Broadpwn also attacks Android devices; Google issued its own security patch earlier in July.
The Story with Broadpwn
Early in 2017, security researchers discovered a vulnerability in specific WiFi chips that has the potential to bring a device to its knees before you realize that something is wrong. Broadpwn allows a hacker to remotely execute a malicious code that takes total control of your device via your WiFi.
Once Broadpwn is executed, the hacker has total control of everything on your device. This includes components from the operating system to the central processing unit, and everything in between.
What makes Broadpwn particularly frightening is that all a hacker has to do is get within range of your device. They don’t need physical access to run their code. This means that they could be sitting near you in an airport terminal, or could be at the table next to you in a coffee shop, and do just as much damage as they would if they had stolen your device.
The flaw is estimated to affect millions of Apple and Android devices being used by people all over the world. To Google’s credit, they already released a patch for the Android operating system early in July. Apple took additional time because it had to work on unique fixes for both the iOS mobile operating system and the macOS desktop platform.
Thankfully, all Apple software updates are incredibly easy to install. Once your device is connected to a WiFi network, all you have to do is complete the following steps:
- Open the “Settings” app on your device.
- Navigate to the option labeled “General.”
- Tap once on the button labeled “Software Update.”
- Wait a few seconds for your device to recognize the newly available update.
- Tap the button labeled “Download and Install.”
- Leave your device connected to both a charging cable and wall outlet during this time, as it may take a while to update.
- Once the update has completed, navigate back to the “Settings” app and tap “About” to confirm your device is running the iOS 10.3.3 operating system.
If your Apple device is a computer like an iMac or MacBook Pro, the steps to update are even easier. All you need to do is open the “App Store” app and click on the tab labeled “Updates.” Once your computer offers you the update, click “Download and Install.” Your computer will reboot a few times during this process. When complete, you’ll be free from the threat of Broadpwn.
Apple and Security: What You Need to Know
Apple has always been known for their very secure mobile and desktop devices. While this is true, the idea that Apple devices “don’t get viruses” is a myth. This used to be so, but we’re talking about ten or more years ago.
Hackers rarely targeted Apple’s desktop operating system simply because it wasn’t lucrative to do so. Not only was Windows a naturally less secure operating system, but there were also exponentially more Windows computers in use worldwide. It didn’t make sense to spend time writing a piece of code that targeted an Apple device if the chances of success were low in the first place.
However, thanks to both the explosion in popularity of the iPhone, and the fact that more people are buying Apple computers, things have changed. Apple devices are still targeted by specific viruses much less than their Windows counterparts, but those numbers are on the rise.
Don’t assume that your device is protected just because it has the Apple logo on it.
In 2015, there were five times as many instances of Apple-specific malware on desktop and laptop computers than in the five previous years combined. Likewise, the iOS operating system recently had a 262% increase in vulnerabilities compared to just a few years earlier in 2011.
Cyber security is a pressing concern for everyone who uses the Internet in any way, regardless of who made your computer or smartphone, or what company you’ve chosen to do business with. To assume otherwise is a legitimate recipe for disaster.
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