Apple has issued a warning to users urging them to update its products that use the iOS system to the latest versions of the system now, including iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers.
Apple released a new update to the iOS operating system this week to correct vulnerabilities in its system, and the defects included in the Homeland Security Warning List.
The tech giant released the iOS 16.3.1 update last Monday to fix two security flaws.
One of them may have been widely exploited.
One of the two problems is Webkit, the Safari browser engine that allowed hackers to execute arbitrary code on iPhones, and Apple believes this has been done to a large extent.
The second security flaw in the operating system kernel, known as the "kernel", could allow an attacker to seize user privileges, but Apple is not sure if the hackers used this vulnerability.
The updated operating system is only available for iPhone 8 and later.
Apple's release notes indicate that the iOS 16.3.1 update includes multiple bug fixes, addressing issues with iCloud and Siri, as well as more improvements to crash detection.
It is unclear how long the vulnerabilities have been present on the devices, as Apple says it "does not disclose, discuss or confirm security issues until an investigation has been conducted and patches or releases are available".
Apple released the iOS 16.3.1 update last Monday to fix two security flaws;
One of them may have been widely exploited (Getty Images)
How to install iOS 16.3.1
To install the new iOS 16.3.1, users can go to Settings and tap General and then Software Update.
Then click "Install" if the iOS 16.3.1 update is available for download, and you will be guided through the steps to check the resolution and restart the device.
The update can also be installed on a Mac or Windows computer using iTunes.
It is a good idea to back up your iPhone before installing iOS 16.3.1 to ensure that all data is securely stored in iCloud if something goes wrong during the update.
This can be done by going into the Settings app, tapping the device owner's name at the top of the list, and then tapping iCloud and iCloud Backup.
When iCloud Backup is set to On, clicking Back Up Now will walk you through the backup process and enable you to restore your device to a later date.
For its part, the Qatar Cybersecurity Agency asked users to urgently update their devices, in a tweet on the agency's Twitter account.
The agency said in the tweet that Apple had discovered a serious security vulnerability in some of its operating systems that run on phones, tablets and laptops, and it could be exploited by accessing and controlling user devices.
Therefore, it requires users to update their devices immediately.
The National Agency for Cybersecurity recommends urgent updates for Apple device systems, due to the presence of serious security vulnerabilities. #National_Agency_Cybersecurity pic.twitter.com/ZTsGYqmidj
- The National Agency for Cybersecurity (@NcsaQatar) February 16, 2023