You might not be used to the idea of a watch endangering your digital life, but you should: Apple’s first update for Watch OS includes 14 security patches, and they’re not trivial.
Watch OS 1.0.1, released Tuesday, brings several performance improvements and support for additional languages, but it also fixes 13 vulnerabilities that could enable arbitrary code execution, information disclosure, denial of service, traffic hijacking, privilege escalation and other attacks, and also updates the list of root CA certificates trusted by default on the device.
Eight of the vulnerabilities are located in the OS kernel, including one each in the FontParser, Foundation, IOHIDFamily and IOAcceleratorFamily components and one in the Secure Transport library.
The FontParser vulnerability could be exploited to execute arbitrary code when processing a maliciously crafted font file and one of the kernel flaws could also be exploited by a malicious application to execute rogue code with system privileges.
Other kernel flaws allow man-in-the-middle attackers to redirect user traffic to arbitrary hosts, cause denial-of-service conditions, bypass network filters or compromise encrypted SSL/TLS connections.
The SSL/TLS vulnerability is known as FREAK (Factoring Attack on RSA-EXPORT Keys) and was disclosed by researchers in March. It allows attackers in a position to intercept SSL/TLS connections to downgrade their security if the server supports so-called “export” cipher suites—‘90s-era weak cryptography that’s no longer used in practice, but which has remained in client and server implementations.
To install the Watch OS update users will need to open the Apple Watch app on their iPhone and then go to My Watch > General > Software Update. The watch needs to be within range of the iPhone, connected to the charger and at least 50 percent charged.