Apple Urges iPhone and iPad Users to Update Devices amid 'Remote Attacker' Security Threat

The new iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates became available on Tuesday

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty

Apple is urging users to update their devices to protect against remote attackers.

On Tuesday, the company released iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates after an "anonymous researcher" found that people may be able to remotely hack certain Apple devices, according to Apple's support page.

"A remote attacker may be able to cause arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited," the company wrote, regarding the security threat to their web browser rendering engine, WebKit.

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Katie Moussouris, the CEO and founder of cybersecurity firm Luta Security, explained to CBS News that this means the hacker could be able to access a user's phone through the web browser and gain control of the device.

"Your regular web browsing may cause you to be held compromised, without having to do really much of anything else," she said. "And that's a problem."

"[They've] zombified that device," Moussouris added of a would-be remote attacker. "[They] are controlling it from a distance."

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The security expert also noted that this is a "serious issue," otherwise known as a "kernel vulnerability" in the field.

"Kernel vulnerabilities, just by their nature are going to be more serious," Moussouris said, "[The kernel] is part of the brain of the operating system. It's supposed to be the most protected... For sure, you know this is a serious issue."

According to Apple, they've fixed the threat with their latest updates, urging users to download them as soon as they can.

"Keeping your software up to date is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your Apple product's security," their security updates page says.

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