Apple presented a new update for iOS last week. Users shouldn’t wait too long with the installation, because the new version also closes critical security gaps.
Over 100 new emojis, eight new background images for light and dark mode, optimized charging for AirPods and much more: the iOS and iPadOS version 14.2 already brings some reasons for Apple users why an update is worthwhile. What many users may have missed, however, is that an update is also urgent for security reasons: In addition to other, less dramatic errors, the update also closes three so-called zero-day exploits that were previously discovered by the security researchers from Google Project Zero.
Experts call zero-day exploits vulnerabilities in software that are exploited by criminals before an update is available from the manufacturer – often before the manufacturer even knew about this vulnerability. This leaves him zero days, in German, zero days to develop a solution.
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Gaps have already been exploited
Typically, security researchers discover software vulnerabilities before they are actually exploited. The researchers then inform the manufacturers of their find in confidence and give them a certain period of days to resolve the problem before they publicly speak about their discovery.
In the specific case, Apple writes in its own patch security information in the case of three of the gaps discovered, that one knows that they are already being exploited. Two of them each concern the central core of the operating system, the kernel. One allows any program to be run without the user noticing.
Update available even for older devices with iOS 12
Another flaw is in a module for handling fonts. Any program code could also be executed here using a manipulated font; according to Apple, cases are already known in which this vulnerability has been exploited.
The three errors mentioned are apparently so serious that Apple decided to update the iOS version 12, which is no longer supported, with an update. Thus, not only all devices from iPhone 6s onwards can be protected from the gap, but also the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 versions.
However, there is no longer a patch for even older devices. It is not clear from the reports whether they are also affected.
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