iPhone users might have noticed in the last couple of weeks that Apple has been very insistent that they update their operating system. As it turns out, Apple mobile devices became subject to a serious security flaw.
The exploit allowed hackers to install spyware on any users’ smartphones which would send personal information back to the host. This allowed phones to send photos and data, which even led to some of the phones being consistently tracked.
Apple released a patch for their iOS operating systems as soon as they could, following the discovery of the flaw by a third party watchdog group, Citizen Lab. The group worked with an outside security firm called Lookout who then reported the flaw to Apple, crediting both groups in their security update.
The update is available for most users for free and does not require the user to update to iOS 10 in order to get it. Users running iOS 9.3.5 are now believed to be safe from the flaw.
The flaw also affected Mac computers. Apple released a patch earlier this month for their desktop operating system OS X, versions El Capitan and Yosemite, to close a hole that might allow hackers to steal data. The hole would have allowed hackers to run spyware from any machine they chose with full administrator access, meaning they would have access to all information stored on the computer from software, text files, images and even stored passwords and credit card information. The program is then able to delete itself, often without the user ever being aware of its presence.
If you haven’t yet updated your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop, it is strongly encouraged that you do so immediately.
The tech company said in a statement on their website that, “For our customers’ protection, Apple doesn’t disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until an investigation has occurred and patches or releases are available.”
Fortune reports that the spyware, a tool called “Pegasus”, has been “targeting devices for several years, the Mac version of the spyware is fully capable of stealing all user data.”