I hope you’ve updated your Macbook recently. Earlier this year, news broke that the company had become aware of two zero-day vulnerabilities affecting Macs, iPhones and iPads.
For those unfamiliar with the term zero-day vulnerability, this is a weakness that’s discovered in a piece of software that’s already operating in the wild and the developer has no awareness of the flaw at the time of its discovery—hence they’ve had zero days to fix it. This is like finding out that after years of living in a house, a ground floor window doesn’t actually lock. Worse yet, there’s been confirmed cases of this vulnerability being exploited—meaning muddy footprints were found inside below your metaphorical window.
This is an obviously troubling situation. Mac released patches for their devices, however, not all versions of their operating systems got the patch. At the time of writing this, only their most recent OS, Monterey, had been patched, leaving people with older versions including Big Sur and Catalina (about 40% of current Mac users) still exposed. To spell it out for people using those older versions: you will continue to be exposed to risk until you upgrade to Monterey.
This is a perfect illustration of why you should always keep your computer up-to-date with the most recent OS. Apple’s neglect of their older operating systems has earned them some bad press in the tech world, but hasn’t yet spurred them to action. And in the meantime, a huge chunk of Mac users essentially could have strangers trapsing through their houses.
Escalating the situation again, the coverage of this issue has undoubtedly been noticed by additional hackers, which is like installing a flashing neon OPEN sign above those unlocked windows. Often developers don’t announce the discovery of vulnerability until it’s already been patched, so that those who have automatic updates switched on will be protected before potentially alerting new malicious actors about it.
So, once again, update your devices to the latest OS as soon as possible. In fact, update all your devices. And then turn on automatic updates to stay updated. That’s true no matter what brand of devices you’re using. What makes this incident unique is Apple’s seeming indifference to it, but aside from that, these sorts of vulnerabilities being discovered, exploited and patched is a very common occurrence, which is why if you’re not going to setup automatic updates, at the very least, don’t hit snooze on your computer’s update alerts. And if you’ve noticed that your liquor cabinet seems weirdly empty, check to see that all your ground floor windows are locked.