Apple has released iOS 15.4.1 along with a warning to update now. That’s because iOS 15.4.1 comes with a single security fix for a major issue already being used by attackers to attack iPhones.
Apple doesn’t give many details about what’s fixed in iOS 15.4.1 so that as many iPhones as possible can be updated before more attackers can get the details. According to Apple support pageiOS 15.4.1 patches a vulnerability in Apple AVDwhich could allow an application to run arbitrary code with kernel privileges.
According to Apple, “there is a known report that the issue may have been actively exploited” — in other words, attackers are using the vulnerability to attack iPhones in real-world scenarios.
The impact of the vulnerability fixed in iOS 15.4.1 is “as severe as it comes,” says security researcher Sean Wright. “Anything that has the ability to execute commands with kernel privileges allows an attacker to take full control of the device.”
An anonymous researcher reported an issue labeled CVE-2022-22675 that was fixed with the iOS 15.4.1 Emergency Update. It comes just two weeks after the release of iOS 15.4, which came with a slew of security fixes as well as some important new security and privacy features. One of the most popular features of iOS 15.4 was the ability to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask.
Apple’s iOS 15.4.1 also includes a fix for a battery drain issue that many people had been complaining about since the iOS 15.4 update. It’s not safety related, but battery leakage is also an emergency for the many iPhone users affected by this issue.
At the same time, Apple released macOS Monterey 12.3.1, which fixes two Mac security issues in Apple AVD and Intel Graphics Driver.
iOS 15.4.1 – Why you should update your iPhone now
There is no doubt that the problem is serious, which is why it is important to update your iPhone as soon as possible. What we don’t know is how widely used the issue fixed in iOS 15.4.1 is – or if it’s a targeted attack on a specific group. This information could emerge in the coming weeks or months, but for now everyone should update their iPhones and iPads to iOS 15.4.1 as soon as possible.
Another reason why it is important to update to iOS 15.4.1 is that Apple has updated phones to iOS 14 with important security fixes. This hasn’t been the case for the last few updates – if you avoid updating your iPhone, you leave it vulnerable to attack. This is even worse when the issue is exploited, as is the case in iOS 15.4.1.
Also, Wright says, be careful with the apps you install — and only install them if you actually intend to use them. “Pay attention to user ratings and permissions to judge the validity of the app. For example, a flashlight app shouldn’t need permission to access your contacts.”
You need to update to iOS 15.4.1 manually because Apple doesn’t enforce automatic updates for iPhones immediately. You know what to do – go to Settings > General > Software update as soon as you get the chance, update to iOS 15.4.1 to keep your iPhone safe.