A new security update has been released for older Apple devices, covering older generation iPhones and iPads that cannot be updated past iOS 12. The new update, iOS 12.5.6, fixes a major vulnerability patched a couple of weeks ago for most modern Apple devices. This new update will apply to quite a few units, like the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPod Touch (sixth generation), the first iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, and iPad Mini 3. If you have any of these devices, it is recommended that you update your device immediately. The update should be rolling out to devices and can be downloaded over the air (OTA).
Two significant security vulnerabilities a couple of weeks ago allowed those with malicious intent to gain full access to Apple products with older software updates. The first affected component was WebKit, which powers the Safari browser on Apple’s portable devices. The second compromised area is the kernel. The kernel is considered the core of an operating system and often offers complete control of everything attached to it. If this sounds scary, it is. Because of these vulnerabilities, those interested could gain unrestricted access to compromised devices.
On its support page, Apple does mention that the exploit can be activated by having a compromised user visit “maliciously crafted web content.” The code would be executed at this point, and the user would be exposed. Furthermore, Apple says that the vulnerabilities mentioned above were actively exploited. While it is unknown just how long this was going on, the company discovered this problem thanks to an anonymous researcher who submitted the details. Apple does have a Security Bounty program that allows researchers to submit bugs and exploits found on different Apple products. If the vulnerability is confirmed, Apple offers some hefty rewards, with some being as high as $1 million.
If you have an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPod Touch (sixth generation), the first iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, or iPad Mini 3, head to your Settings, then General, and Software Update. From here, your device should tell you what version of iOS your device is currently running. If it is not iOS 12.5.6, be sure to approve the update. Depending on your internet speed, it might take some time to download, with the update coming in at 275.5MB.