Apple has released updated operating systems for its iPhone and iPad products. The company said that the update was designed to fix a security vulnerability that made Apple devices vulnerable to hacking.
What has happened?
Understandably Apple hasn’t given specific details of the security flaw in the iPhone and iPad operating systems. However, on February 13th, the company posted security updates for iOS and iPadOS. The web page for the updates lists an issue with the operating systems’ kernel and WebKit. The WebKit is Apple’s browser engine that’s used in Safari.
What were the issues?
Apple stated that the kernel issue with the operating systems was that “an app may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges.” The company said that a “use after free issue” was addressed with improved memory management. In addition, the issue with the WebKit was that “processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution.” Concerningly, Apple stated that they were aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited. The company said that a “type confusion issue” was addressed with improved checks.
What products are affected?
The new operating systems are iOS 16.3.1 and iPadOS 16.3.1. The updates are available for the iPhone 8 and later. They are also for the iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 3rd generation and later, iPad 5th generation and later and iPad mini 5th generation and later.
What we think
It can be concerning when you read a report saying that there is a security flaw in the operating system of a product you own. This is compounded when, as in this case, Apple confirms that the vulnerability has been exploited by hackers. Statistically, the risk to an individual iPhone or iPad user is very low, so you shouldn’t worry too much. However, you should always ensure that your iPhone or iPad operating system is up to date and install security updates as soon as they are made available.