Apple Now Facing Lawsuit Over Spectre and Meltdown in the United States


As should be expected, the Spectre and Meltdown hardware vulnerabilities that affect every major processor out there in the wild caught fire leading into 2018, and customers with plagued devices are not happy about the inherent security concerns therein.

As such, class action lawsuits against companies was inevitable, and now Apple is facing one of its own, as first reported by MacRumors. Two folks are moving forward with a class action lawsuit against Apple as of right now. Jacqueline Olson and Anthony Bartling filed the lawsuit in a U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, on behalf of anyone who purchased an Apple-branded device with an ARM-based processor designed by Apple. That includes any of the A-series processors from the A4 to the current A11 Bionic, which are present in iPhones, iPads, Apple TV units, and the iPod touch lineup.

According to the complaint, Olson and Bartling argue that Apple knew about the Spectre and Meltdown security defects as early as June of last year, and, as such, did not inform its customer base in a meaningful timeframe. In addition to that, the complaint states that Apple cannot implement a fix for Spectre and/or Meltdown without heavily impacting the performance of those processors.

“ARM Holdings PLC, the company that licenses the ARM architecture to Apple, admits that it was notified of the Security Vulnerabilities in June 2017 by Google’s Project Zero and that it immediately notified its architecture licensees (presumably, including Apple) who create their own processor designs of the Security Vulnerabilities.”

As it stands right now, Apple has released software-based patches to address Spectre and Meltdown for both iOS and macOS. However, there isn’t anything Apple can do to fix the hardware-based issues — it can only implement software patches, which it has done, including patching older versions of macOS and OS X as well.

The lawsuit is looking to gain $5 million in punitive and compensatory damages if the case does go to trial.

Check up on the Specre and Meltdown FAQ right here to get up-to-date on what’s going on.

Our Take

This was inevitable. Despite the fact Spectre and Meltdown affect all processors from Intel, ARM, AMD, and NVIDIA. There is some concern over huge drops in performance in devices where Spectre and Meltdown have to be patched on the software side, as articulated earlier this month with an iPhone 6. There is no doubt it’s an unfortunate situation across the board, and it will be interesting to see where this class action lawsuit goes from here.

[via MacRumors]