Security issue on the new iPad Pro with M1

By Thanos Palangas

The chip M1, which is inside the new iPad Pro and the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iMac, has a security problem, according to developer Hector Martin.

Vulnerability exists at the hardware level and cannot be corrected. Apple has violated some specifications of the Arm architecture, which means there is no easy way to mitigate it. The problem is that two applications can exchange data without following the usual operating procedures.

Fortunately, the vulnerability does not pose a serious security risk and, in the worst case, it could be used by advertisers for cross-app tracking. Martin says that cannot be used to gain control of the device or steal personal data.

However, the defect is a defect and this bypasses the security models of the operating system. Affects all devices with M1 and hypothesis and mobile phones of the iPhone 12 series, why the A14 Bionic is based on the same microarchitecture as the M1.

The only solution is to run the whole operating system as a virtual machine (VM), but it would be a great waste of resources.

The problem is expected to affect the next generation M1, but maybe we’ll see some fix by then. Hopefully the Μ1Χ chips which will be located in the next MacBook Pro will not have the same problem.

Apple is aware of the issue and has acknowledged its existence.


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