Though the iPhone is a relatively secure platform, sometimes vulnerabilities pop up that endanger anyone who uses Apple's mobile operating system, iOS. It happened last August, and a new vulnerability is in town again this July.
Here's a brief rundown of the security flaw, how you can stay safe, and how this serves as a reminder to always stay updated.
Every smartphone, by default, will search for a Wi-Fi network if it's not currently connected to one. Because most people have to pay for the mobile data they use, using Wi-Fi networks saves data and is also more battery-friendly. This is where the iPhone exploit comes in.
Without the latest update (iOS 10.3.3), attackers can take over your iPhone remotely if it's searching for a Wi-Fi signal. A vulnerability in the wireless chip allows a nearby hacker to find your device and completely take control of it.
You should install your iPhone's new update ASAP, or else you'll be vulnerable to hacks through your phone's WiFi chip.
— UberFacts (@UberFacts) July 21, 2017
They don't have to know your PIN passcode or trick you into using your device -- they can just take it over remotely. You can imagine how giving someone access to your contacts, social media, and other personal information could result in major problems.
Because most people use Wi-Fi on their iPhones every day, this is a critical update to install. Thankfully, it only takes a minute.
Downloading the Fix
Your iPhone (or iPad/iPod Touch) will alert you when it has an update ready. If you see a red dot on the Settings app, it's time to update. To do so, tap the Settings app on your home screen, then select General. Next, choose Software Update and give your phone a moment to check for updates.
If there's an update available, you'll see a brief description of what it does and a button to download and install it now. Should you already have the update installed, you'll see Your software is up to date or a similar message.
Once the update starts, you won't be able to use your phone for a few minutes until it completes. After your phone reboots, you have the latest update and are safe from this exploit.
Since this issue can also affect MacBooks, Apple has released a similar update for macOS. To get it, click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of your Mac, then select App Store. Click the Updates tab and your Mac will check for available updates, then prompt you to install them.
Always Apply Updates!
This emphasizes how important it is to always install the system updates that your computer and phone offer. While they might seem annoying and are easy to brush off, your device isn't safe when you don't apply them. The major ransomware attack earlier this year wouldn't have been nearly as big of a deal if more companies had applied Microsoft's updates in time.
Be sure to share this article with your friends who also own iPhones so they can stay safe!