Apple users have been urged to install new updates as soon as possible after a major bug was found.
The company warned that the bug “may have been actively exploited”, suggesting that the threat is not simply theoretical.
The issue would allow attackers to run malicious code on the devices, potentially threatening other information stored in them.
Apple did not give any information about who is using the exploits or who has been hit by them.
Apple gave little other information on the potential hack, including how dangerous it might be. But it noted that the problem was in WebKit, the software that is used to render web pages on its devices – and which appears in a host of different places, as well as its Safari browser.
“Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution,” it wrote in its security update information. “Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”
Unlike the recent iOS 14.5 update – which included a range of new additions, including anti-tracking technologies and a new option to unlock phones while wearing a mask – the new update does not include any new features at all. If the phone has automatically updated, then there would be no obvious way that iOS would have changed, apart from the new version number in the Settings app.
Security experts urged users to update their devices to ensure they were protected against the hack, and warned that the fact the new update was being issued so soon after that high-profile release could indicate the bug is particularly dangerous.
“When Apple release multiple updates in quick succession it highlights the severity of the release. Apple is continually being targeted and has a duty to protect its users,” said Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET. “Such exploits could be hugely effective and it’s vital that people take on the responsibility where they can and update at the earliest convenience.
“Many people still wrongly think that an update will take too long or even harm their device and data. However, if these devices are not up to date with the latest operating system, procrastination will leave their data in far more danger.”
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