It’s time to update your Macbook: Apple issued updates for OS X and its Safari browser this week to close a loophole that could allow attackers to take over a computer and execute programs to steal data or spy on its user. News of the update was first reported by Motherboard.
The fix comes a week after Apple patched a similar vulnerability for iPhones, and the timing apparently is no coincidence: Apple credited digital rights group Citizen Lab and security software company Lookout with finding the now-fixed OS X vulnerability. Both were also at the center of last week’s iOS fix.
Last week’s iPhone update was the result of an attempted hack directed against pro-democracy activist Ahmed Mansoor, who was targeted for his work against human rights violations in the United Arab Emirates. Mansoor had received suspicious text messages attempting to trick him into installing malware on his device.
The software in question, which would have allowed outsiders to hijack his phone and download data from it, has reportedly been developed by the NSO Group, a secretive Israeli surveillance company. The New York Times reported Friday that the NSO Group sells spyware like this to foreign governments for steep fees: Spying on 10 iPhone users costs up to $1.15 million.
Most users will likely never be the subject to such targeted surveillance campaigns, but it’s still a good idea to update your computer immediately. After all, other rogue actors could exploit the same vulnerability. Apple made the latest patches available as part of its regular update process.