It's not just you: Emergency software patches are on the rise

Apple's iMessage flaw offers a warning: Zero-day flaws have become more common. But there's good reason for people not to worry — as long as they update their devices.

It’s not just you. Emergency software patches, in which users are pushed to immediately update phones and computers because hackers have figured out some novel way to break in, are becoming more common.

Researchers raised the alarm Monday about a big one: The Israeli spyware company NSO Group, which sells programs for governments to remotely take over people’s smartphones and computers, had figured out a new way into practically any Apple device by sending a fake GIF through iMessage. The only way to guard against it is to install Apple’s emergency software update.

Such emergency vulnerabilities are called “zero days” — a reference to the fact that they’re such an urgent vulnerability in a program that software engineers have zero days to write a patch for it. Against a hacker with the right zero day, there is nothing consumers can do other than wait for software updates or ditch devices altogether.

Once considered highly valuable cyberweapons held mostly by elite government hackers, publicly disclosed zero-day exploits are on a sharp rise. Project Zero, a Google team devoted to identifying and cataloging zero days, has tallied 44 this year alone where hackers had likely discovered them before researchers did. That’s already a sharp rise from last year, which saw 25. The number has increased every year since 2018.

Katie Moussouris, founder and CEO of Luta Security, a company that connects cybersecurity researchers and companies with vulnerabilities, said that the rise in zero days is thanks to the ad hoc way that software is usually programmed, which often treats security as an afterthought.

“It was absolutely inevitable,” she said. “We’ve never addressed the root cause of all of these vulnerabilities, which is not building security in from the ground up.”

But almost paradoxically, the rise in zero days reflects an online world in which certain individuals are more vulnerable, but most are actually safer from hackers.

The Citizen Lab, the University of Toronto’s cybersecurity research hub that discovered Monday’s vulnerability, only saw it because it was examining a Saudi Arabian dissident’s iPhone. And the lab was inclined to look for it because it has repeatedly found Saudi Arabia using NSO’s spyware to target the kingdom’s dissidents, including associates of the slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

But while people targeted by the Saudi Arabian government would need to be on extremely high alert, most individuals might actually be safer. Because major operating software tends to have better security stopgaps in place, it means hackers often have to acquire and use one or more zero-day exploits to fully gain control of people’s smartphone, Maddie Stone, a Project Zero security researcher, said.

Most people have more to be concerned about by the sizable data leaks from private companies.

“A big range of people don’t have to worry about [zero days] on a day to day basis,” Stone said in a phone call. “This would feel counterintuitive to most, but seeing the number of zero days rise is actually in response to increased security defenses being deployed at a much larger scale.”

Of course, users still need to update their phones to have that safety, especially because news of a new zero day might inspire more hackers to reverse engineer how to get into any phone that’s running an older version of their operating system.

“I do believe more of us in the public need to be worried,” Stone said. Because while fewer people may be hacked, “those instances of zero day attacks tend to have a much larger impact.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Daniel Craig Crashes Rami Malek's 'SNL' Episode For Prince Audition Sketch

Kenan Thompson, special guest Daniel Craig and host Rami Malek shared the screen during the No time to die, but plenty of time for sketch comedy, apparently: Daniel Craig made ... Read more »

Shocking moment woman falls down manhole with baby in arms

Shocking moment woman falls down manhole with baby in arms Read more »

10 Kate Spade Surprise purses you can buy for under $100 right now

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. If you’re planning on gifting a loved one a chic purse ... Read more »

Intel Alder Lake CPUs could fail to work with some DRM-toting games

Intel’s Alder Lake processors could have compatibility issues with older games that use DRM protection, according to a fresh report. The story here is that Intel has just released a ... Read more »

Going all-in on crypto mining? These are the best GPUs for you.

Cryptocurrency mining is a heavy process for the GPU, requiring the component (and your PC) to be running hard for prolonged periods of time. While it’s possible to choose the ... Read more »

Premier League: photo géante de Khashoggi et protestations avant Newcastle-Tottenham

© DR Twitter Blair McDougall Jamal Khashoggi affiché aux abords de St James’ Park avant Newcastle-Tottenham Si certains supporters des Magpies se réjouissent de l’arrivée de propriétaires saoudiens à Newcastle, ... Read more »

Apple's new MacBook Pro chips may be called the M1 Pro and M1 Max

Leaks are still pouring in just a day before Apple’s “Unleashed” event kicks off. According to MacRumors, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman understands the chips for the widely expected 14- and 16-inch ... Read more »

Black Friday started early at Amazon: the 6 best deals you need to see

Black Friday still might be over a month away, but that doesn’t mean you can shop incredible deals at Amazon’s latest sale. The retailer is releasing “Black Friday-worthy” discounts throughout ... Read more »

Soldier who died in training accident on Salisbury Plain named

Jethro Watson-Pickering (Yorkshire Regiment/PA) A soldier who died during an Army training exercise on Salisbury Plain has been named. Private Jethro Watson-Pickering, 23, of the 1st Yorks Regiment, was part ... Read more »

Nintendo Switch Online N64 games: a brief introduction to every game

Nintendo Switch Online is a service that could be better. It’s Nintendo’s own version of PS Plus or Xbox Live, albeit with a less refined online play experience, a library ... Read more »

LG's 27-inch 1440p screen is great for gaming and down to its lowest price

LG’s 27GL850-B 27-inch Ultragear Nano IPS 1440p gaming monitor was going for as much as $500 in March and was still as high as $450 in July. Today’s drop to ... Read more »

Artists launch colorful 'jellyfish' balloon to the stratosphere in inaugural test flight

© Provided by Space Beyond Earth’s “Living Light” artwork. A group of artists has launched a colorful, jellyfish-looking craft into Earth’s stratosphere as part of a unique test flight.  This ... Read more »

Inspiration4 astronaut Sian Proctor reflects on historic SpaceX spaceflight experience

© Provided by Space Sian Proctor served as the pilot for the private SpaceX mission Inspiration4. CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Sian Proctor, the pilot for SpaceX’s historic Inspiration4 mission, is ... Read more »

Chiefs vs Washington live stream: how to watch NFL online from anywhere

This clash of the teams with the two worst defenses in the NFL is a must-win for both franchises, which are matched at 2-3. Expect both quarterbacks to rack up ... Read more »

Python is now no. 1. This training can make sure you're a certified expert

TLDR: The Python Programming and Git Certification Bundle includes beginner and advanced training in how to use Python to code all your biggest programming projects. Well, it finally happened. After ... Read more »

Support scientific interest with a price drop on this comprehensive robot arm kit

The pursuit of scientific and technological understanding and innovation requires consistent dedication and a desire to learn. For many eventual individual successes in the industry, that journey starts at a ... Read more »

Apple's October ‘Unleashed' event: what to expect

Apple has announced an event for October 18th, with a video containing the title “Unleashed.” If you’ve been watching the rumor mill, it won’t come as a surprise — the ... Read more »

Packers vs Bears live stream: how to watch NFL online from anywhere

The Packers’ seemingly reluctant win over the Bengals last weekend was one of the strangest games in recent memory, so much so that a Bears triumph can’t be ruled out… ... Read more »

Chargers vs Ravens live stream: how to watch NFL online from anywhere

Two of the oustanding figures from the early weeks of the season, Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson, go head-to-head in a game that’s got FUN written all over it. The ... Read more »

Russian crew returns from shooting the first feature film on the ISS

Shooting for the first feature-length movie in space has wrapped. Space.comreports Russian actress Yulia Pereslid, producer Klim Shipenko and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy have returned to Earth after the first two ... Read more »

How to watch the Apple October 2021 event: will new MacBooks get unleashed?

Apple has announced it is holding it’s ‘Unleashed’ event, where it’s expected to show off new MacBook Pros running on upgraded hardware, and we’ll show you how to watch the ... Read more »

Jabra's huge Epic Daily Deals sale includes $50 off the Elite 85t earbuds

One of Amazon’s Epic Daily Deals today is a gigantic sale on Jabra true wireless earbuds. The items available include multiple generations of Jabra’s true wireless earbuds going as far ... Read more »

Samsung Galaxy S22 leak reveals more about the smartphone's design

We’ve already heard plenty about the Samsung Galaxy S22 as its expected launch date gets closer and closer, but the leaks keep on coming – and the latest one gives ... Read more »

Daniel Craig's James Bond movies show where the Star Wars sequels went wrong

Big No Time To Die spoilers follow. Watch the film before reading this. They actually went and did it… For a franchise that’s spent most of its six decades adhering ... Read more »

7 reasons why programmers burn out — and 7 ways to prevent it

When Jerry started their job as a junior developer, they couldn’t wait to get to work each morning. And each evening, even after their 10-hour workdays, they’d still feel energized. ... Read more »

Best Buy's Black Friday plans: Talking Tech podcast

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current ... Read more »

What do 10 million fewer iPhone 13 shipments mean?

While the iPhone 13 range seemingly launched without a hitch in September, a recent Bloomberg report claimed that Apple was expecting to ship 10 million fewer units of its newest ... Read more »

Russian spacecraft returns to Earth with movie crew aboard

A Russian actress and director-producer who spent 12 days aboard the International Space Station returned to Earth early Sunday along with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy who had been in space for ... Read more »

Three ways to add quicker access to the Windows 11 Task Manager

© Provided by Windows Central Here are three ways to create quick access to the Task Manager on Windows 11. On Windows 11, you can no longer right-click the Taskbar ... Read more »

HP Omen 15 (2021)

© Provided by TechRadar The HP Omen 15 from the front, displaying a vivd, colorful desktop background HP Omen 15 (2021): Two minute review If you’re looking for a powerful ... Read more »

The pandemic laid bare the deep problems in America - from healthcare to housing. Now the question is: will we do anything about it?

Sophia Garcia, center, with Legacy LA in Boyle Heights joins housing advocates and tenants gathered against eviction of tenants from the 50 unit Tokio Hotel apartments n downtown Los Angeles. ... Read more »

The dark side of wellness: the overlap between spiritual thinking and far-right conspiracies

It was the afternoon of 4 July 2020, and Melissa Rein Lively’s video was about to go viral. A PR executive in Arizona, she already had the appearance of a ... Read more »

Britain's Got Talent Finalist Airlifted To Hospital With 'Severe Injuries' After Stunt Goes Wrong On US Version Of Show

A British escape artist has been airlifted to hospital after his act went drastically wrong during rehearsals for a spin-off of America’s Got Talent. Jonathan Goodwin, who is from Wales, ... Read more »

Should you buy a Lego calendar now or wait for the Black Friday Lego deals?

Some of the most popular Black Friday Lego deals are on the company’s popular advent calendar sets – these are your traditional December day-counters, except instead of chocolate, cheese or ... Read more »

How to enable TPM 2.0 for Windows 11

One of the more controversial things about Windows 11 has been the system requirements that have been put in place, especially with TPM 2.0. Although the basic requirements are not ... Read more »

Sir David Amess: Anti-terror police search London homes

Anti-terror police continued to search properties in London on Sunday after the Met was given more time to question Sir David Amess’ suspected killer. Officers stood guard outside Ali Harbi ... Read more »

How to make an authentic cup of matcha

You’ve no doubt seen matcha on menus in restaurants and coffee shops. Maybe the latte form has even become your go-to drink order. And yet, you’ve probably given little thought ... Read more »

10 leggings celebrities can't stop wearing

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Leggings are a staple in many people’s wardrobes. Whether you’re wearing ... Read more »

Macron condemns 'inexcusable' crackdown on 1961 Algerian protests in Paris

President Emmanuel Macron has described the deadly crackdown by Paris police on a peaceful protest by Algerians as “inexcusable for the Republic”, going further than his predecessors in admitting crimes ... Read more »

Strictly Come Dancing in ‘homophobia and sexism' row over ‘smutty' comments made to male dancers

Strictly Come Dancing has been accused of sexism for allegedly “predatory” comments made by judges towards male dancers. The BBC’s primetime dancing show has reportedly received a higher than usual ... Read more »