Hacking threat: Kiwis urged to upgrade Apple devices

News Highlights: Hacking threat: Kiwis urged to upgrade Apple devices.

Apple’s iOS 14.4 update is now live – and in addition to fixing a vulnerability, it will help scan Covid-19 posters.

Late yesterday, Crown agency CERT NZ (the Computer Emergency Response Team) issued an advisory report on a security issue with iOS that Apple says is being actively exploited by hackers.

The problem affects iOS (the software that iPhones run on), iPadOs, and tvOS (the software that Apple TVs run on).

Update your Apple iOS, iPadOS and tvOS devices to version 14.4 immediately where the update is available. For most users, a popup should warn you that an update is available – select ‘Update now’, ”CERT NZ advises.

If you don’t receive a popup message, follow these steps: Go to Settings> System> Software Update. Select “Update Software” there.

At the time, iOS 14 was not available. It should now show up as an option to most users (Apple usually makes iOS updates available continuously). The update took the Herald about 10 minutes to update and install.

Details about the vulnerability are sparse at this stage, but an Apple reporting page about the problem says, “A malicious program can increase permissions,” if it exploits the vulnerability, indicating that a hacker may be in control of a device.

“Apple is aware of a report that this problem may have been actively exploited,” said the iPhone maker says on its security notification page.

The company says it will not provide details on security issues until after they have been patched.

iOS 14.4 also adds support for cutting smaller QR codes – a useful addition as we are all encouraged to step up our Covid poster scanning.

CERT NZ recommends that users enable an automatic software update feature on each device.

The announcement took some of the shine away from the Data Privacy Day, which saw Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg annoyed by an action by Apple to let advertisers know when they want to track your activity.

Zuckerberg called the move anticompetive. Apple said it was responding to users’ demands for greater privacy and transparency, and released a “Day in the Life of Your Data” presentation to defend its case.