The latest iOS update – 10.2.1 – protects your iPhone from a staggering 13 different vulnerabilities.
Two of the bug fixes fall under the “kernel” category, which means, as Apple explains, that “an app may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges”.
That’s Apple-speak for: “Hackers could use this bug to seize control of your phone, update now!”
Kernel vulnerabilities are a treasure trove for hackers who want to snoop on and extort their victims.
A hacker could exploit the bugs to record a conversation and forward it to someone else, or even take photos of you with you realising.
“It can add files, delete files, or execute any actions,” JP Taggart, a senior security researcher at Malwarebytes told Wired.
“Want to install additional malicious software? It can do that. Want to uninstall programs on the affected phone? It can do that. Want to hide these actions, programs and files from the user? It can do that too,” Taggart added.
But the kernel problems are by no means the only bugs that have caused alarm among the cybersecurity community.
Seven of the vulnerabilities affect the WebKit, the browser engine behind Safari, the App Store and plenty of apps.
Several of the Webkit bugs can also lead to arbitrary code execution by sites which, unlike the apps that could exploit the kernel bug, haven’t been vetted by Apple.
The flipside is that the bugs were discovered by some of the world’s best cybersecurity researchers.
In addition Taggart said that it’s unlikely anyone other than high profile targets being traced by the government security services would have been vulnerable.
But even if you’re not on the run from the state, you should update just to be safe.
Enter settings, then click general, then software update and then download and install, to stay secure.