An error in Apple’s Secure Sockets Layer put every MacBook or iPhone owner at risk for identity theft.
The security flaw gave attackers a way to hack into the connection between servers and Apple devices. The affected devices include iPhones, Mac OS via cell phone, WiFi, and wired connections.
Everything from emails, to personal Facebook accounts, to the credits cards used on Amazon.com accounts were exposed to spies and hackers.
In the midst of arguably one of the worst security problems ever, all Apple users should use Chrome or Firefox, which are not affected on OS X, and remain aware about what personal information he or she sends over the Internet.
“Reuters” quoted John Hopkins University cryptography professor Matthew Green in commenting on the flaw, saying, “It’s as bad as you could imagine, that’s all I can say.”
Although Apple released iOS 7.0.6, a fix for iPhones, no update for MacBook is out yet.
“Gizmodo” reports that the bug has been going on since September 2012, which means that the SSL of all iPhones and MacBooks, which aids communication between browsers and website servers, has been vulnerable since then.
In other words, update your iPhones as soon as possible.
The debacle followed on the heels of an earlier story regarding Apple that broke in the last week.
According to “Reuters,” Apple was hit with leaked intelligence information that stated authorities were fully able to break into iPhones because of other bugs.
Speculation as to the bug’s nefariousness is running rampant, and reports vary from a simple mistake to potential NSA connections.
While Apple claims that they did not include the error to help the National Security Agency, the recent announcement of the security flaw establishes a company pattern of betraying customer trust.
Apple was wholly irresponsible to ship their products with as severe an error as this.
Even if it was simply a mistake, the situation is an embarrassment for a company that prides itself on pioneering technological advancements.
Society’s growing dependence on the Internet, coupled with the lack of means to hold technological companies accountable besides market forces, spells trouble for the privacy of consumers.
But what can be done to punish companies that make drastic mistakes like Apple?
The primary solution might be for the government to create regulations including fines and prison time for corporations that fail to comply with the rules by putting customers at risk, but the debate is ongoing.
Helen Lee / Photo editor
Helen Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org