Apple: Mac and iPhone both affected by big chip vulnerability

But the most recent operating system updates for Mac computers, Apple TVs, iPhones and iPads protect users against the Meltdown attack and do not slow down the devices, it added, and Meltdown does not affect the Apple Watch.

The security bugs, which were first discovered by security researchers at Google, apply to all modern processors and can be exploited by hackers through malicious apps running on a device. "Analysis of these techniques revealed that while they are extremely hard to exploit, even by an app running locally on a Mac or iOS device, they can be potentially exploited in JavaScript running in a web browser", Apple said.

While Meltdown is specific to Intel chips, Spectre affects chips from Intel, AMD and Arm.

The issue also affects devices such as PCs, with Intel chips widely affected.

"Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store", it said in a statement.

But the Meltdown and Spectre flaws are found in all modern computer processing units - or microchips - made by Intel and ARM, and together the firms supply nearly the entire global computer market.

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There's no evidence that bad actors have yet exploited the bugs, but companies from Microsoft to Mozilla said they have worked to patch up vulnerabilities to their operating systems.

Apple is continuously developing and testing various mitigations and will release new updates further in all iOS, macOS and tvOS to tackle the situation.

Spectre and Meltdown are serious vulnerabilities that take advantage of the speculative execution mechanism of a CPU.

The company will release an update to its Safari Web browser in coming days to defend against another form of the security flaw known as Spectre. It also reported that the updates to fix the problems could causes Intel chips to operate 5 percent to 30 percent more slowly. If the prediction was wrong, this speculative execution is rolled back in a way that is meant to be invisible to software.

Apple's Spectre fix is still to come, though those vulnerabilities are harder to exploit, according to researchers.

Apple says that now there are no known exploits that are impacting users at this time.

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