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Update Apple gadgets now to defend against FREAK

Update Apple gadgets now to defend against FREAK
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Update 3/10: Apple has released an update that fixes the FREAK flaw. You should update your Mac computer and any iOS devices that you own. Find out how to update your iOS gadgets in this tip and your Apple computer in this one.

The White House, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation and any organization that uses Apple or Google devices are all vulnerable to a new and dangerous bug. It's called the FREAK flaw, and the number of devices vulnerable to it is enough to make anyone's head spin.

This one is worse than Heartbleed, because it doesn't just affect specific websites. It gives hackers the key to file encryption. The government intervention that created the FREAK bug leaves everyone vulnerable — the government included.

Craig Timberg of the Washington Post explains how the legislators accidentally shot themselves in the cybersecurity foot:

The flaw resulted from a former U.S. government policy that forbade the export of strong encryption and required that weaker “export-grade” products be shipped to customers in other countries, say the researchers who discovered the problem. These restrictions were lifted in the late 1990s, but the weaker encryption got baked into widely used software that proliferated around the world and back into the United States, apparently unnoticed until this year.

Next page: More about the hack on the next page.
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