Apple Releases Fix For FREAK Security Flaw For iOS, Apple TV, Mac
It has been around a week since security researchers found a flaw that potentially left millions of computer, smartphone and tablet users at risk. The flaw, known as FREAK or Factoring Attack on RSA-EXPORT Keys if we’re going to be all official, is no longer a problem for those carrying Apple products, after the company pushed out an update for various devices across its lineup.
The fix is available as a range of free updates across the entire Apple device lineup. For the Apple TV, the update comes in the form of the Apple TV 7.1 update, iOS 8.2 for iPhone and iPad users, and a small software update for Mac users running OS X Lion, Mountain Lion and Yosemite.
The vulnerability itself is left over from a government policy that prevented technology companies from using strong encryption, instead forcing them to use the weaker ‘export-grade’ alternative. This policy meant that companies in effect were not providing technology to others outside the United States that would cause problems for the government at a later date.
Thankfully, that policy died ten years ago, but companies didn’t change the way they did things as far as their encryption methods were concerned. Apple’s fix removes those ‘export-grade’ products which in turn means the previous FREAK flaw is cut off at the knees.
If you’re using a Mac, then you can download the update directly from the Mac App Store under the Updates tab. iPhone and iPad users can grab the update from the Settings app by navigating to General > Software Update. Apple TV users can also grab hold of the update by going to the device’s Settings app. You’ll probably want to get the updates sooner rather than later, even if the flaw has been around for the last ten years without major incident.
Apple pushed its new security updates out alongside its Spring forward media event yesterday that saw the Apple Watch see its price announced as well as a new MacBook be released.
It’s best not to hesitate, and download the updates straight away if you’re in the ownership of any Apple device, such as a Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or an Apple TV.