Apple has disclosed serious security vulnerabilities for iPhones, iPads and Macs that could potentially allow attackers to take full control of these devices.
Apple released two security reports on the issue on Wednesday, though they haven’t received much attention outside of technical publications.
Apple’s explanation of the vulnerability means a hacker could gain “full admin access” to the device. This would allow intruders to impersonate the owner of the device and then run any software on their behalf, said Rachel Tobac, CEO of SocialProof Security.
Security experts have advised users to update the affected devices – iPhone6S and later models; multiple iPad models, including 5th generation and later, all iPad Pro models, and iPad Air 2; and Mac computers running macOS Monterey. The flaw also affects some iPod models.
Apple did not specify in the reports how, where and by whom the vulnerabilities were discovered. In any case, he quoted an anonymous researcher.
Commercial spyware companies such as Israel’s NSO Group are known to identify and exploit these flaws, exploiting them in malware that surreptitiously infects targets’ smartphones, siphons their content, and monitors targets in real time.
NSO Group has been blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce. Its spyware is known to have been used in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America against journalists, dissidents and human rights activists.
Security researcher Will Strafach said he hasn’t seen any technical scans of the vulnerabilities Apple just patched. The company has previously acknowledged equally serious flaws and, on what Strafach estimated to be perhaps a dozen occasions, noted that it was aware of reports that such security flaws had been exploited.