Apple dropped an important security update on Monday, Sept. 13 that you’ll want to know about. The iOS 14.8 software update addresses a vulnerability on your iPhone that “may have been actively exploited,” according to Apple’s description of the update. With iOS 15 right around the corner, you might think an update can wait. If you’re wondering if you should update to iOS 14.8, you’ll want to read on for more details on why you should update ASAP.
Apple released the software update on Sept. 13 to address a security flaw on its devices that was caught by Citizen Lab, a University of Toronto laboratory that researches digital threats. According to a Sept. 13 Citizen Lab report, researchers discovered the spyware from “mercenary spyware company” NSO Group when analyzing a Saudi activist’s iPhone, and they determined the spyware affected the latest Apple devices with a “zero-click” iMessages exploit. It’s referred to as forced entry and can lead to “arbitrary code execution,” which basically means the attacker can run any code on your phone at any time.
According to a statement sent to Elite Daily on Sept. 14, Ivan Krstić, head of Apple Security Engineering and Architecture, said the company developed iOS 14.8 to address this issue for the protection of its users. “After identifying the vulnerability used by this exploit for iMessage, Apple rapidly developed and deployed a fix in iOS 14.8 to protect our users,” Kristíc said. He also commended Citizen Lab for “successfully completing the very difficult work of obtaining a sample of this exploit so we could develop this fix quickly.”
Although you should update to iOS 14.8 as soon as you can, Krstić explained that the exploits aren’t a threat to most users. “Attacks like the ones described are highly sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have a short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals,” he said. Even so, Apple created the fix to address all users’ phones. Kristí said, “While that means they are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users, we continue to work tirelessly to defend all our customers, and we are constantly adding new protections for their devices and data.”
Since Apple’s latest software update covers important security concerns, it’s a good idea to get it ASAP. In fact, Citizen Lab urged users in its report to “immediately update all Apple devices.” The iOS 14.8 update is available for iPhone 6s and later and and iPod touch 7th generation. The iPadOS 14.8 provides the same security fix for all models of the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 4 and later.
To get the software update, simply head to Settings on your Apple device, select General, then Software Update. Then, tap Download and finally, Install. Once you’ve updated to iOS 14.8, you can rest assured that your device will be up-to-date against the latest vulnerabilities.