By Tim McNicholas


CHICAGO (CBS) — Do you have the latest updates on Apple?

If not, the federal government says you could be opening yourself up to hackers – because there may not be a way to protect older products.

CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas met one suburban man who now fears his Apple Watch is worthless to him.

“The watch was $750,” said Dale Erdman.

And when he got it three years ago, it was one of the hottest new tech toys. But he says to him, it’s now just a fancy piece of jewelry.

“And to think that three years later, it’s basically unusable – and the fact because I can’t take the chance of it being vulnerable,” Erdman said.

Erdman, you see, is an IT manager – the kind of guy who subscribes to cybersecurity emails. He got an email on Wednesday, Oct. 30 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, pointing out “vulnerabilities” in some Apple products.

The email said, “A remote attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system.”

In other words, Erdman said, “You could be hacked.”

Another federally-funded cybersecurity group said Apple’s flaws could allow an attacker to bypass security restrictions and “view, change, or delete data.”

That alert said anyone without the latest Apple Watch operating system is at risk.

“When I saw that, I was like, ‘Okay, that’s a problem.’” Erdman said.

It’s a problem because Erdman’s first-generation Apple Watch, released in 2015, cannot update to the latest system. So he called Apple and recorded the conversation.

“If you want to have that peace of mind, that’s something that you have to pay for,” an Apple representative said on the call.

“So there’s nothing that Apple can do for me except to say, ‘Go buy a new watch,’ correct?” Erdman said.

“That’s the answer, correct,” the Apple representative said.
The alert further said if you can’t get the latest operating systems on your older iPhone or iPad, you might also be at risk. That means any iOS before 13.2, any iPadOS before 13.2, any Safari browser before 13.0.3, and and any WatchOS before 6.1.

“I want to make sure people are aware of that – that if you see something, you say something, you do something,” Erdman said. “I’ve always preached that, and now I’m at the point where I have to do something about it.”

The alerts say that so far, there are no recorded cases of anyone actually being hacked from these vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, it’s not just Apple. All tech companies make products that are vulnerable to hackers.

For a link to current security advisories on devices you may be using, click here.

Tim McNicholas