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Mac users: Install latest software updates ASAP

Update Macs right away - ImageQuest

Less than a week after pushing out a major update, Apple sent out another software update – and Mac users should install it right away.

The new updates fix bugs in the new iOS software – including one that could allow criminals to take over your device.  Security experts recommend you install these patches as soon as possible – instead of waiting for your automatic software update to happen.

Apple’s Security Update noted that “Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”

Apple devices needing updates include Apple laptops running OSX 11.3 (Big Sur), the Safari web browser on laptops with Mac OS Catalina and Mac OS Mojave, iPads and iPhones with iOS 14.5, and Apple Watches with watchOS 7.4.

A complete list of Apple updates for all affected devices is here.

And if you remember being told that hackers didn’t focus on Apple products – those days are over.  Ars Technica reported that the recently patched iOS vulnerabilities bring the number of zero-days actively exploited against iOS users to seven.

A “Zero-Day” vulnerability is a software flaw that hackers discover and try to exploit until developers release a patch. “Zero Days” also can be found by security researchers, also known as white hat hackers.

“With a total of 22 zero-days found so far in 2021,” Ars Technica wrote, “those exploiting the Apple mobile OS make up almost 33 percent of them. That makes iOS the second most targeted software by zero-days this year, behind Chrome, which has had eight zero-days.”

So if you’re a Mac user, keep your Apple device patched. When the little red dot appears on your gears icon (System Preferences), that usually means it’s time to update!

(You can also click on the gears icon, then use the search box to find Updates. A drop-down menu will suggest “software updates.”  Click on that to start checking.)