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ARM Security Update Suggests Intel’s CPU Bug May Also Affect iOS Devices

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Intel

Following Intel CEO’s announcement that a recently discovered CPU security flaw also impacted smartphones, an ARM Processor Security Update has been issued which lists susceptible processors including the Cortex-A8, Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A15. And although Apple designs its own A-series chips, these are based on ARM architecture, suggesting a number of iOS devices may have been affected as well (via 9to5Mac).

“Phones, PCs, everything are going to have some impact, but it’ll vary from product to product. 

It is important to note that this [attack] method is dependent on malware running locally which means it’s imperative for users to practice good security hygiene by keeping their software up-to-date and avoid suspicious links or downloads.”

Apple’s A-series chips include at least some elements of the Cortex-A8, -A9 and -A15 processors, making them susceptible to the CPU bug. The A4 chip includes a Cortex-A8 processor, the A5 and A5X chips include dual-core Cortex-A9 processors, while the A6 features some elements of the Cortex-A15. As a result, the following iPhones, iPads, iPods and Apple TVs may be affected:

  • iPhone 4
  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5C
  • iPad (1st gen)
  • iPad 2
  • iPad (3rd gen)
  • Apple TV (2nd gen)
  • Apple TV (3rd gen)
  • iPod Touch (4th gen)
  • iPod Touch (5th gen)

Although ARM says the risk of exploitation is low, the full bug findings have not yet been disclosed, which means that additional iOS devices may also be susceptible. Apple should however be able to patch the impacted devices with a security update, similar to the way it has done for macOS.

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