Technology

Why You Should Update to iOS 14.4 ASAP

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Written by Quentin Hack

Still running the old iOS version? Well, it’s time to update to the new one: 14.4. And no, there’s no time to postpone that. Saying you don’t need it doesn’t work either. Updating to 14.4 is mandatory if you care about your data staying safe and out of the hands of hackers.

What do we mean by that?

We’ll show you in this article.

How Serious Are Those Vulnerabilities?

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They’re pretty scary. According to Apple, it found three vulnerabilities which it patched in 14.4. Well, the company didn’t as much “find them” as anonymous researchers found them and told Apple about them.

Here’s what got fixed:

Two WebKit Security Flaws

WebKit is an open-source web browser engine that Safari mainly uses. However, besides the browser, other iOS and iPadOS apps use WebKit too. So this flaw doesn’t only affect Safari.

As for what’s going on, the security flaws involve a “logic issue” which a hacker could exploit to remotely execute arbitrary code. If you’re confused, “arbitrary code” just means that an attacker can run any command they want on your system.

So a hacker could exploit these two flaws to force Safari to redirect your traffic to a phishing site. And that’s just one example out of many!

One OS Kernel Flaw

This issue is even more severe because it affects the kernel (think of it as the heart of your operating system).

Basically, a cybercriminal could abuse this vulnerability to gain elevated privileges by using a malicious app. “Elevated privileges” means they’d get more control over your operating system, so they’d be free to steal and delete a lot of sensitive data.

Other Issues

Besides those three main flaws, Apple also fixed various problems with iCloud for Windows products and Xcode.

iOS 14.4 Fixes Some Annoying Bugs Too

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Remember when the keyboard would just randomly decide to stop working? The Messages keyboard would display in random languages (it made for some pretty awkward texting conversations, we’re sure). And the normal keyboard would experience delayed typing or not display word suggestions.

Well, that’s all been fixed in iOS 14.4!

And that’s not all. iPhone 12 Pro users will be happy to know their photos won’t have a 50/50 chance of being ruined by random image artifacts.

Also, you can now take phone calls from the Lock Screen even if you enabled Switch Control in Accessibility. Finally, answering your iPhone won’t feel like a chore anymore!

What’s more, Apple fixed the Fitness widget in iOS 14.4. It will now display Activity data that’s updated correctly. Apparently, it sometimes didn’t display it correctly in previous iOS versions.

And the last bit of good news – the audio stories in CarPlay’s News app now work as intended. Previously, they wouldn’t resume playing if you paused them to interact with Siri or give a spoken command.

How to Update Your iPhone or iPad

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Just follow these steps:

  1. Head to Settings (it has the cog icon).
  2. From the options, pick
  3. Tap Software Updates.
  4. Tap Download and Install.
  5. Wait for the update to finish.

Important Tip

Always keep automatic updates enabled! It’s the only way to make sure you don’t skip on an important security update.

To do that, head to Automatic Updates, and switch these settings to the On position:

  • Download iOS Updates
  • Install iOS Updates

How Else Can You Keep Your iPhone and iPad Safe?

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We recommend doing the following things:

Install a VPN

VPNs are great security tools for online traffic. They encrypt all your data on any network (even an unsecured one), preventing cybercriminals from eavesdropping on it.

What’s more, by encrypting your traffic, a VPN could potentially stop a hacker from targeting you with a form of MITM (Man-in-the-Middle) attack that could redirect your traffic to phishing sites.

Oh, and some VPN providers have ad-blockers that also block connections to websites known to host malware.

See more here about finding the right iOS VPN for you.

Install Antivirus Protection

Antivirus software will keep you safe from any form of malware. Even if you update to 14.4, who’s to say hackers won’t find a different vulnerability to exploit to infect your device with malicious software and code?

With antivirus software installed on it, that won’t be a concern anymore. The moment it detects any malicious activity, it will block and quarantine it.

Even better, antivirus software can block connections to malicious domains too.

We recommend using Malwarebytes – their iOS apps are easy to use and offer powerful security.

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Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Strong passwords are nice, but a very skilled hacker might still get their hands on them – especially through phishing attacks.

But if that happens and you have two-factor authentication enabled, your accounts will still be safe. Even if cybercriminals know your passwords, they’ll need to physically get their hands on your phone to get the randomly-generated 2FA code. Without it, they won’t be able to compromise your data.

Just make sure to use an authenticator app to get the 2FA codes, not SMS texts. They’re usually less secure. Plus, they’re not as reliable (nothing’s more annoying than trying to sign into your PayPal account and the 2FA text message not being delivered on time).

Don’t Auto-Join WiFi Networks

Automatically connecting to WiFi networks is useful and time-saving, yes. But it’s also extremely risky.

Why?

Because hackers could trick your device into connecting to a malicious fake network that imitates legitimate hotspots. If successful, they’ll be able to monitor all the data you share over their network. The only way you’d be safe in that scenario is if you’d use a VPN. Even if you were on a fake network ran by hackers, they still couldn’t read your traffic because it’s encrypted end-to-end.

Would You Like to Add Anything Else?

If we forgot to mention something, please let us know in the comments. Also, if you know other ways to secure your iPhones and iPads, please mention them.

About the author

Quentin Hack