Apple issues Meltdown and Spectre fixes for older Mac operating systems

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in macOS
Apple's latest macOS High Sierra was not the only Mac operating system to receive fixes for Meltdown and Spectre on Tuesday, as a separately released security update addresses critical vulnerabilities in macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan.




Released alongside macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, which itself includes patches for Meltdown and Spectre, Apple's Security Update 2018-001 for Sierra and El Capitan incorporate a number of kernel security improvements aimed at nullifying threats posed by the chip flaws.

Apple points to Meltdown by name in an accompanying support document, saying the fix addresses a vulnerabilities that allow an attacker to gain unauthorized access to information on computers with microprocessors utilizing speculative execution. Other patches mitigate risks associated with read restricted memory, kernel privileges and memory corruption.

Prior to today, Apple issued a supplemental update for macOS 10.13.2, but failed to release a similar patch for older operating systems.

Both Meltdown and Spectre take advantage of speculative execution, a performance feature built in to nearly every modern microprocessor. Chips like those made by Intel and AMD, as well as Apple's A-series SoCs, attempt to predict instruction streams in order to facilitate faster process execution. If a predicted path is not needed, the instruction set is canceled and the associated memory cache is discarded in a process intended to be invisible to a user program. However, researchers discovered a method of accessing targeted areas of a memory cache, opening the door to sensitive information like user passwords.

More information about Meltdown and Spectre can be found here.

Mac users are urged to download the security update, or the latest version of macOS, through the Mac App Store.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    Thanks Apple!
    christopher126SpamSandwichcornchip
  • Reply 2 of 14
    Yes. Great news!

    Nicely done. I feel back to 10.11.6 is a good balance. 
  • Reply 3 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,139member
    But ... but ... what about Cheetah? 
    cornchip
  • Reply 4 of 14
    Unlike other updates, this one will sign you out of the account you were in.   Be sure to have your password handy!
    cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 14
    If you are a photographer hold off, the update 10.13.3 has a bug that locks up your color profiles, not allowing you to choose, it’s locked into a icc.rgb profile. The bug also locks me out of deleting old profiles. 2017 iMac 4.2 ghz. Calling Apple later this morning.
    dysamoriaSpamSandwichcornchip
  • Reply 6 of 14
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,980member
    appneck said:
    If you are a photographer hold off, the update 10.13.3 has a bug that locks up your color profiles, not allowing you to choose, it’s locked into a icc.rgb profile. The bug also locks me out of deleting old profiles. 2017 iMac 4.2 ghz. Calling Apple later this morning.
    This never ends. 

    What about the perormance loss
    incurred with these remediations? 
  • Reply 7 of 14
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,785member
    MacPro said:
    But ... but ... what about Cheetah? 
    Actually you joke, but my Mac servers are still running macOS 10.10 (Yosemite). Its not just a simple upgrade like it is at home, hence why they're still on macOS 10.10. There is no patch to my knowledge for macOS 10.10. 
  • Reply 8 of 14
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,022member
    Hmm, I'm not seeing this yet. Maybe they are doing some kind of staged release?
  • Reply 9 of 14
    The security patch caused kernel panics on both my machines (on Sierra). Obviously Apple did not test this, and we're the guinea pigs...
  • Reply 10 of 14
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,022member
    HKSA said:
    The security patch caused kernel panics on both my machines (on Sierra). Obviously Apple did not test this, and we're the guinea pigs...
    Yikes... maybe I don't want to see it yet.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    I installed this software update on my Early 2008 Mac Pro running the latest El Capitan with everything working fine prior to installing the update.  No problems or error messages were encountered in installing the update.  However, upon rebooting I was taken to the login screen, entered my password, and the spinning wheel kept spinning.  After 20 minutes I shut down the computer, used recovery mode to reinstall the OS, and tried to boot again.  Once again I got the spinning wheel and could not get past the login.  Fortunately I had a day old clone and I was able to boot my Mac Pro with this clone with no problems.  I then used Super Duper to copy the clone's OS back to my Macintosh HD, and I could then boot the Mac Pro without problems.  I repeated all of this twice.  Each time I tried to boot after installing the security update, I could not get past the spinning circle after putting in my password.  I have now used my clone to restore my Macintosh HD and I am booting and using the Mac Pro without any problems. I do not plan to install this update, and I believe that I have clearly shown that the update is flawed for my Early 2008 Mac Pro. I submitted all of this feedback to Apple. 

    Tom
    cgWerksbaconstang
  • Reply 12 of 14
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,022member
    tnw2933 said:
    I installed this software update on my Early 2008 Mac Pro running the latest El Capitan with everything working fine prior to installing the update.  No problems or error messages were encountered in installing the update.  However, upon rebooting I was taken to the login screen, entered my password, and the spinning wheel kept spinning.  After 20 minutes I shut down the computer, used recovery mode to reinstall the OS, and tried to boot again.  Once again I got the spinning wheel and could not get past the login.  Fortunately I had a day old clone and I was able to boot my Mac Pro with this clone with no problems.  I then used Super Duper to copy the clone's OS back to my Macintosh HD, and I could then boot the Mac Pro without problems.  I repeated all of this twice.  Each time I tried to boot after installing the security update, I could not get past the spinning circle after putting in my password.  I have now used my clone to restore my Macintosh HD and I am booting and using the Mac Pro without any problems. I do not plan to install this update, and I believe that I have clearly shown that the update is flawed for my Early 2008 Mac Pro. I submitted all of this feedback to Apple. 

    Tom
    Thanks for the heads up!

    I'm still not seeing the update here (Sierra in Canada). I wonder if Apple has pulled it?
  • Reply 13 of 14
    I m experiencing kernel panic on mine as well - older model running El Capitan; started right after installing the security updates
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