Apple WARNING! You Can LITERALLY Lose All Your Crypto on iPhones, Macbooks

Apple crypto theft
Apple crypto theft

LUCKNOW ( — A team of researchers from multiple United States-based universities sounded the alarm after discovering a critical flaw that exposes cryptocurrency wallets and encrypted keys on many of Apple’s most popular devices.

The researchers uncovered a technique that reconstructs encrypted data using a performance-enhancing feature found in Apple’s custom M-series chips, which include the M1, M2, and latest M3 variants. These chips power millions of Mac computers, iPads, and even the upcoming Vision Pro headset.

Apple, Apple WARNING! You Can LITERALLY Lose All Your Crypto on iPhones, Macbooks
An X user posted about the vulnerability in Apple M-series chips. Source: X

The flaw allows malicious apps to trick the chip into leaking sensitive encrypted data from its cache, exposing private keys and codes meant to be cryptographically secure.

What makes this revelation so chilling?

Matthew Green, an expert in cryptography and a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University, believes the actual risk for the average person is likely minimal.

We’re talking about high-end users, like someone who has a cryptocurrency wallet with a lot of money.

Matthew Green said.

Hackers can create malicious apps to trick these chips into leaking highly sensitive data like crypto wallet private keys and login credentials from the secure enclave meant to protect them. 

Apple’s M-series chips use a prefetching mechanism to make your device run faster. Prefetching monitors your frequently performed tasks and keeps the related data readily available. However, the researchers discovered they could construct scenarios that cause the secure kernel data, including cryptographic keys, to be loaded into an insecure cache accessible to malware.

In layman’s terms? A hacker’s app running on your Mac or iPad could slowly reconstruct your crypto wallets’ private keys — the only barrier stopping cyber criminals from depleting your funds. 

Robert Graham, CEO of security consultancy Errata Security, says to be on the safe side. 

While the steps are complex, Graham emphasizes that skilled bad actors are actively working to operationalize this attack at scale. All users with affected M1, M2, or M3 devices must take immediate action.

There are people right now hoping to do this [attack] and are working on it, I would assume.

Robert Graham says.

While the likelihood of an average crypto user falling victim to this exploit may be low, the potential consequences are severe. Correcting a key could take an hour to 10 hours, depending on the encryption method.

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But how can hackers exploit Apple’s vulnerability to steal your digital assets? 

The scenario typically involves tricking the processor into leaking prefetched data containing cryptographic keys into the cache. Malware can then access and reconstruct them.

While this process is not as simple as flipping a switch, the risks are amplified if you’ve installed unsigned third-party apps or visited compromised websites. Malicious actors could potentially leverage JavaScript code to orchestrate such attacks remotely.

Centralized exchanges like Coinbase, which hold user funds in custodial wallets, are not at risk. However, if you store your account passwords in a password manager on a vulnerable device, changing them is advisable.

Hardware wallets from reputable manufacturers like Ledger and Trezor appear safe, as the private keys never reside on the compromised device. Nonetheless, exercising caution by avoiding connections to vulnerable devices is advisable.

Unfortunately, there is no software patch or update for Apple users to remediate this critical vulnerability. The issue is in the architecture of the chips themselves. Moving funds to a secure hardware wallet temporarily mitigate the risk. 

Beyond crypto wallets, any encrypted data residing on these devices is now subject to potential exposure. This may include passwords, financial records, confidential communications, and more. The stakes are dismally high.

After the research surfaced, Mac users in online forums questioned if they should be seriously concerned about their password keychains.

Apple, Apple WARNING! You Can LITERALLY Lose All Your Crypto on iPhones, Macbooks
A Mac user expresses his concern on the MacRumors platform. Source: MacRumors

One user believed Apple would address the issue within their operating system; otherwise, they would be “more worried.”

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