There’s a very good chance you use your smartphone, laptop, or tablet to do everything from shop online to pay your bills. But even though technology has made it convenient to get important tasks done, they’ve also exposed us to new types of security issues as our lives become increasingly digital. Now, Apple has warned that anyone who uses their devices needs to take action immediately to make sure everything is secure. Read on to see what you can do with your tech to stay safe.
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You should update the software on your Apple devices due to security vulnerabilities.
On July 26, Apple unexpectedly released a software update for its iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 operating systems used on iPhones and popular tablets. The company says the urgent update includes an “important” patch to address a recently discovered vulnerability, saying the download is immediately “recommended for all users.”
The update is still important for devices that are on the older side. According to Apple, the new software is currently available for anyone with an “iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation).”
An important security update has also been released for Apple laptops.
It’s not just handheld devices that are affected by the security vulnerability. Apple has also released an update of its macOS software for laptops, urging customers to download Big Sur 11.5.1 to patch an identical security issue that could potentially affect the popular computers.
In the support document, Apple says it “doesn’t disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until an investigation has occurred and patches or releases are available.” But the company admitted in the support document that some users could already have been affected, saying: “Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”
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One cybersecurity expert says they “highly recommend people update as soon as they can.”
Even though the latest update comes just a week after the release of iOS 14.7 and Big Sur 11.5, experts say the included patches make this a truly urgent update for your devices. “I would highly recommend people update as soon as they can, given there is reason to believe that this is being actively exploited,” Sean Wright, SME application security lead at cybersecurity company Immersive Labs, told Forbes.
Fortunately, there’s a chance that your device may have already downloaded and installed the update overnight. To manually check or start the download yourself on your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app and tap “Software Update.” Those updating macOS on their laptop should open System Preferences and then click “Software Update.”
Experts also warn you should be careful of where you download your apps from.
Keeping the software on your devices up to date can be one of the best ways to stay safe, but as constant updates prove, hackers can sometimes find vulnerabilities faster than programmers can fix them. To keep your products safe, Wright tells Forbes that it’s best to be careful of not only what you click and download but where you get it from, too. “Only install apps from the official App Store and make sure you look at requested permissions—noticing if, for example, a flashlight app is requesting access to your contacts—and reading user feedback/reviews,” he advises.
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