This story has been updated.
WASHINGTON — If you have an iPhone or iPad, you could be exposed to hackers who steal your personal information.
That’s because there’s a major flaw in Apple software that thieves know how to exploit.
“It’s about as bad as you could imagine,” says Matthew Green, a cryptology professor at Johns Hopkins University. “When you log into your banking account … they could listen to that information, and then they could log into [it]. When you go to your gmail, they could read your email.”
So if you have an iPhone or iPad, don’t ignore those software updates. Without them, your passwords and credit card information could be stolen. Apple computers are believed to be vulnerable, but there’s no fix for them yet.
Apple spokeswoman, Trudy Muller told Reuters, “we are aware of this issue and already have a software fix that will be released very soon.”
UPDATE: Apple has released critical new updates, otherwise known as a ‘patch’ for the problem, the tech publication Engadget reports. The company pushed out iOS 7.0.6 and 6.1.6., which are two small updates that address the security issue.
The prior, faulty version of iOS lacked key validation steps meaning that iOS devices could not protect themselves from hackers on less-than-secure networks. It is uncertain whether Apple knew that the problem existed.
All iOS users should update their devices to include the patch updates.
Engadget reports that Apple’s platforms for notebooks and desktops, OS X, is also vulnerable because of the validation problem, and that the company is working quickly to make a patch available.