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Apple Mac vulnerable to hackers
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Security & privacy

Use Word on a Mac or MacBook? Microsoft warns hackers have a new way in

Whenever companies roll out an update for your programs, operating systems and devices, you should never delay downloading it. These updates can add new functions, but they often patch serious vulnerabilities.

For example, in May, Apple released updates to fix a vulnerability in three of its operating systems, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. This came a few days after the company rushed out an emergency patch for iPhone and Mac.

But now, Microsoft is warning MacBook users to update the macOS operating system. Read on to see what the patch entails and how you can download it.

Here’s the backstory

Your system is at risk if you have a Mac or MacBook and haven’t installed the latest security update yet. According to Microsoft, an App Sandbox flaw tracked as CVE-2022-26706 exposes your information to hackers through its Word application.

How it works is rather complex. In essence, Apple’s App Sandbox is a secure environment that restricts any damage to macOS devices and user data if an app is infected with malware or a virus. Apple explains it’s a “last line of defense against theft, corruption, or deletion of user data.”

The unpatched flaw in macOS Launch Services means an infected app can escape the App Sandbox and infiltrate your data.

“Our research shows that even the built-in, baseline security features in macOS could still be bypassed, potentially compromising the system and user data,” the Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team explains.

What you can do about it

The best thing to do is immediately update your Apple device to the latest version, Monterey 12.4. Not only does it fix the App Sandbox flaw, but it also patches other problems.

Here’s how to get the update:

  • From the Apple menu in the corner of your screen, choose System Preferences.
  • In the System Preferences window, click Software Update.
  • Click Update Now or Upgrade Now:
    • Update Now installs the latest updates for the currently installed version. 
    • Upgrade Now installs a major new version with a new name, such as macOS Monterey. Software Update shows only upgrades that are compatible with your Mac.

The 12.4 update also corrects a Bluetooth problem where an app can gain unauthorized access to Bluetooth and a kernel issue where hackers can execute malicious code.

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