For some time it has been more than evident that the iPhone has become a priority target for cybercriminals. And it is logical, of course, according to Statista Apple’s smartphone market share in the second quarter of 2020 was 13.5%. And we must also bear in mind that we are talking about a top of the range and a device that has remained aspirational since its launch, which makes it the first choice of many influential people with high purchasing power, precisely the objectives golds of many cybercriminals.
Thus, Apple has just released an update to iOS, 14.4.2 and iPadOS 14.4.2 that, as we can read in the notes of its publication, fixes a vulnerability that is already being actively exploited by cybercriminals. Identified with the code CVE-2021-1879, the nature of it has not yet been revealed. We will still have to wait a while until the technical details of it are disseminated, and it may take a long time for the volume of abuse of it that the affected iPhones have suffered and are suffering.
The only thing we know, at the moment, in addition to the need to update the iPhone, iPad operating system and, if we have it, also Apple Watch (this update is downloaded automatically when updating iOS), is that they have been Google Project Zero researchers who have discovered the problem and who is currently being employed. And they have also revealed that it affects WebKit, the Safari engine, Apple’s web browser for all its devices (except AppleTV, which is still punished without a web browser, of course).
So if you have an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, you should immediately update them to iOS 14.4.2 and iPadOS 14.4.2 and watchOS 7.3.3 respectively, and we do not know if the vulnerability is being used only in a targeted way or, on the contrary, some massive campaign has already been carried out in order to compromise the security of as many iPhone as possible. Given the risk that we find ourselves in the second scenario, updating is imperative.
They are far away, fortunately, the days when Apple devices were said to have no security issues. And don’t get me wrong, I would love that my iPhone, my MacBook Pro and my iPad Mini were not exposed to external threats, and I extend it to the rest of devices and operating systems of all manufacturers. Of course, I would also like that there were no hunger and poverty in the world, that the war was just a memory of the past and that people resolve our differences by giving each other a hug … and that the flying cars that they promised us in childhood already were a reality, I also want that. And that the sweet does not make you fat.
I say that I am glad that they are no longer said that they are safe because, they never really have been. That Apple devices suffered far fewer attacks than those of other more widespread platforms is explained by a directly proportional relationship, that between market share and the interest of cybercriminals. Exploring the security of a device like the iPhone can be time consuming, expensive, and if its market share were, say, 0.5%, we would certainly talk much less about its security issues.
An operating system, whether it’s called iOS, Windows, macOS, or Linux it’s terribly complex software development. And this may seem obvious, but the truth is that for some time now, they have become such a common element in our lives that, except for technology fans and those of us who live to monitor their evolution, functions and news, the rest of the world understands them as something that is there, without more, there is no real knowledge about them. My mother, without going any further, has an iPhone, and it doesn’t occur to me to ask her about iOS versions.
A) Yes, understandably they have security issues. Yes, they should take extreme controls in this regard, but even in those circumstances it is possible that some problems can creep into the software of our devices. It is unrealistic to aspire for my iPhone to be 100%, as well as my Windows 10 laptop. What I hope is that those responsible for it act with the maximum responsibility and speed when there is a problem.