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iPhone security flaws: everything you need to know

Their names might seem like computer viruses from a latter-day Bond movie, but the Meltdown and Spectre software flaws are serious business.

Targeting processors made by Intel and ARM, virtually every computing device in the world is affected.

But for the majority of mainstream tech users, it’ll be Apple’s admission that their products are affected that will hit home hardest.

So, what’s the problem? And how can you protect your devices and your data? Read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Compare our pick of the best deals across a range of iPhones.

What are Meltdown and Spectre?

iPhone processor a8

Meltdown and Spectre are security flaws which target processors made by Intel and ARM, two of the world’s leading chipset manufacturers.

Malicious apps and software using either flaw take exploit a process called speculative execution to access personal details and data on people’s devices.

So what Apple products are affected?

iPhones

All of them. In a blog post on its website, Apple said: “All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected.”

That means that whether you have a spanking new iPhone X or a creaking old iPad 2, you could be at risk.

It’s a major headache for Apple, even though all other tech hardware producers appear to have the same problem too.

Apple’s mainstream appeal means many millions could be in harms way.

Have hackers targeted iPhones yet?

The good news is that executing Meltdown and Spectre attacks appears to be extremely difficult.

Apple said: “There are no known exploits impacting customers at this time.”

So, how can you stay safe?

app-store-redesign

The advice is simple. Only download apps from the official App Store and be aware of opening suspicious links.

That means visiting trusted websites and avoiding shady looking downloads on unofficial looking websites.

It’s also essential to install the most up to date software on your iPhone or iPad if you can.

What is Apple doing?

Apple says it has already mitigated some of the effects of Meltdown and Spectre with iOS 11.2, which it released at the end of last year.

It says forthcoming iOS 11 updates will do more to address users’ concerns, but as this bug is a developing issue, it will take its engineers a long time to get on top of the problem.

Is it just Apple?

No. Intel and ARM supply chips for PCs, tablets and smartphones to some of the world’s biggest tech companies.

That means the advice about staying vigilant applies just as much to Android users as it does to iPhone ones.

So only use trusted apps and don’t follow links that appear unsafe.

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