Early last week, Apple released an update that addressed approximately four-dozen security flaws. One of them is a vulnerability in a WiFi chip that, should an attacker feel so compelled, could allow him or her to gain access to iPads, iPhones, and iPods and execute arbitrary code without any action what-so-ever from the user. According to the U.S. Computer Security Resource Center’s National Vulnerability Database, taking advantage of this flaw isn’t particularly complex and it also affects Android devices.
Google announced a fix for this Broadcom WiFi chip issue earlier in the month. However, the latest 10.3.3 version for Apple devices hasn’t shown up in some users’ update notifications yet. Therefore, anyone with iPhone 5 or later, 4th generation iPads and later, and 6th generation iPods may need to do a manual check to see if the update has been released by their carriers. In some cases, cellular service providers may hold off on releasing patches for a while. There is little you can do about that, but rather than wait for that little notification to show up, if you go to your general settings and check for an update manually, it may show up as available for some. Don’t forget that this also affects the Android operating system; so if your notification hasn’t shown up yet, check on it. If needed, due to the severity of this one, contact your providers and find out when they intend to release it for your device. The more people who contact them about this, the faster they are likely to push them out to customers.
In the meantime, try to avoid logging into public or unsecured WiFi locations until you can get your device updated. Also be sure not to do any transactions on these WiFi connections that require sensitive information to be sent, such as financial transactions.
As with any update, be sure to back up your devices before applying them. This is just to protect your data in case the fix doesn’t get applied as planned. You can make a backup to your computer or to the cloud and if needed, restore it from this backup.
As with any updates, as soon as they are available, take some time to apply them. And not just the operating system, keep all the software and applications on your computers and mobile devices updated with the latest patches and versions of those products.
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