This past weekend Apple rolled out a trio of security updates for the iDevices. Seems there is a nasty bug that could allow hackers to grab data if you are connected to an unsecured network. Unsecured network? You know, those wifi signals that let you connect without a password? With your iPad? Your iPhone? Your laptop? Yep, we’ve all used them at one time or another.
The hole has been patched in the latest iOS 6 & 7 updates, and also the latest Apple TV update. The Apple TV is not generally a problem because it’s connected to your own secure network (your network is secured, right?), but if you take it to the family gathering at Aunt Tillie’s to stream all of those family photos from your iPad to Aunt Tillie’s big screen… You get the idea. Run the updates ASAP. We all know that there are hacker wannabees out there that pounce on announcements of new bug fixes and immediately try to exploit the bug on a neighbor’s system.
The fix for OS X 10.9 is in the works, but has not yet been released. Until it is, you should at least have your system Firewall enabled and avoid unprotected free access points. I went one step further and set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on my laptop. I used ThreatSpike Dome. It’s a free service and it was easy to set up.
As usual, security also involves using your head. When you’re out and about, don’t connect to any just convenient open network. You’re asking for trouble. If something asks for your password, think before you type. If you’re not trying to install or update something, or trying to log in to a site, who is asking for that password? If it looks suspicious, look a little closer. I’ve said many times that I hate having to use a password for any modification to the system, but at the same time, it keeps the nasties away. Ditto for using a secured network.