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In recent news, a concerning security flaw named LeftoverLocals has been discovered, putting most older iPhones, Macs, and iPads at risk. This vulnerability allows attackers to access data processed in a device’s GPU, and while Apple has addressed the issue in A17 iPhones and M3 Macs, older models remain vulnerable. This report, brought to light by Trail of Bits, sheds light on the potential risks and highlights the need for vigilance in the face of evolving cybersecurity threats.
LeftoverLocals is a security flaw that enables attackers to gain unauthorized access to data stored in a device’s GPU. Trail of Bits, the organization behind this discovery, has previously demonstrated vulnerabilities in Apple’s security infrastructure. This flaw affects a wide range of GPUs, including those from Apple, Qualcomm, AMD, and Imagination.
The significance of this vulnerability cannot be understated. Not only does it expose a large volume of data to potential breaches, but it also poses a threat to devices leveraging GPUs for processing Large Language Models (LLMs). The ability to recover local memory, an optimized GPU memory region, opens the door for attackers to eavesdrop on users’ interactive sessions across process or container boundaries.
While initial reports suggested a delayed response from Apple, the tech giant has taken steps to address the issue. Devices like the Apple iPad Air 3 (A12) have received patches, but concerns linger as the vulnerability persists in certain models, such as the Apple MacBook Air (M2). The recently released Apple iPhone 15, however, seems to be immune to the flaw, providing a glimmer of relief for users of the latest devices.
Despite the reported fixes for the latest iPhones and Macs with A17 and M3 devices, it remains unclear whether Apple has comprehensive patch plans for all impacted devices. Users of older iPhones, Macs, and iPads are advised to stay informed and vigilant as the situation develops.
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