Apple releases unexpected software updates to address vulnerability in WebKit


Apple Inc. today released software updates for its range of iPhone, iPad, Mac computers and the Apple Watch that address a vulnerability in the WebKit engine that powers the Safari browser.

The security updates to iOS 14.4.1, iPadOS 14.4.1, macOS 11.2.3 and watchOS 7.32 come a little over a month after the 14.4 release in January and addresses a “memory corruption issue” in WebKit, according to Apple. The vulnerability enables the ability to process maliciously crafted web content that can exploit the WebKit vulnerability to gain access to the device.

A Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures number has been created for the vulnerability — CVE-2021-1844 — but as of now, further details have not been disclosed. Apple credited the discovery of the vulnerability to Clément Lecigne of Google LLC’s Threat Analysis Group and Alison Huffman of Microsoft Corp.’s Browser Vulnerability Research team.

Although Apple as usual is a little vague on how serious the vulnerability is, its release of an update without going through developer or public testing suggests it’s a serious vulnerability that needed to be urgently addressed. The unexpected update also comes before the release of iOS 14.5, which is currently in its beta 3 build and is expected to be released sometime later this month.

Apple is encouraging all iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch users to install the update. The updates are available for iPhone 6s and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad mini 4 and later, iPod touch (7th generation), macOS Big Sur and Apple Watch Series 3 and later.

The updates can be installed on iOS and iPad manually through the settings app. Mac users should navigate to the System Preferences menu. Apple Watch users can obtain the update by going to My Watch.

Photo: Pxhere

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