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How urgent you need to update to iOS 14.8? – Guide
Apple has released a set of new updates for iOS, macOS and watchOS to fix a bug that Citizen Lab security researchers say was most likely exploited to allow government agencies to install spyware on phones of journalists, lawyers and activists. The researchers claim that the bug allowed a “zero-click” installation (meaning the target didn’t have to do anything to get infected) of the Pegasus spyware, which is supposedly capable of stealing data, passwords and activating a phonemicrophone from or camera. You can read our Pegusus explainer here for more details. Given the severity of the exploit, you should upgrade to iOS 14.8, macOS Big Sur 11.6 and watchOS 7.6.2 as soon as you can.
THE APPLE UPDATE PAGE SAYS IT IS “AWARE OF A REPORT THAT THIS PROBLEM MAY HAVE BEEN ACTIVELY EXPLORED.”
We heard about the exploit in August when Citizen Lab reported that it had been successfully used against phones running iOS 14.6 (released in May). Citizen Lab also said the vulnerability, dubbed “ForcedEntry,” appeared to match the behavior of an exploit Amnesty International wrote about in July. At the time, security researchers wrote that this was possible due to a bug in Apple’s CoreGraphics system, and it happened when the phone tried to use a function related to GIFs after receiving a text message containing a malicious file.
However, even with this information, it can be difficult to determine exactly what is going on without access to the infected files themselves. According to Citizen Lab, they discovered files when reanalyzing a backup of a hacked activist phone. The files appeared to be GIFs sent as SMS attachments, but were actually PSDs and PDFs. (Apple’s update notes say the issue occurred while processing a maliciously crafted PDF.) Citizen Lab suspected they might be Pegasus-related, so it sent the files to Apple on September 7th. Apple quickly released software updates fixing the bug on September 13th and thanked Citizen Lab in a statement for “completing the very hard work of getting a sample of this exploit”.
IOS 14.8 IS APPARENTLY FOCUSED ONLY ON SAFETY
Some of Monday’s updates also fix a second security issue with WebKit for iOS and macOS Big Sur (not mentioned in Catalina’s release notes). While it’s unclear whether it’s related to NSO exploits – its discovery is attributed to “an anonymous researcher” rather than the Citizen Lab, and it’s in a different part of the system – Apple still says it “may have been actively exploited “.
This urgent security issue explains why we’re seeing a new iOS update the day before an Apple event, where new ones are expected to be announced. phones that will likely never run this version of the operating system. Still, there have been rumors of an iOS 14.8 release since early August, but given that Monday’s release appears to only address the security issues discovered in September, it’s possible we’ll see at least one more iOS 14 release .
KEEP YOUR DEVICES UP- UNTIL THIS DATE
CoreGraphics PDF rendering seems to have been problematic lately when it comes to security. iOS 14.7 also included a fix for a seemingly separate issue with the system, which could also lead to arbitrary code execution. WebKit has also recently had some updates to fix security issues that Apple says “may have been actively exploited.” When news of the CoreGraphics exploit broke in August, Apple told TechCrunch that it was working to improve the security of iOS 15.
All of this serves as a reminder of how important it is to keep all your devices. up-To date. While you’ll probably never find yourself on the downside of a government using advanced spyware, it’s still a good idea to make sure your device isn’t vulnerable to widely reported security exploits. Fortunately, Apple is planning to allow users to install security updates for iOS 14 without having to update to iOS 15, which could be useful for future fixes. For now, however, update all your devices as soon as possible.
From the news forums.macrumors.com
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