macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 Release Candidates Fix Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

The macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 release candidates that came out today appear to address a Safari bug that could cause your recent browsing history and details about your identity to be leaked to malicious entities.

safari icon blue banner
As shared last week by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS, there is an issue with the WebKit implementation of the IndexedDB JavaScript API. Any website that uses IndexedDB can access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during the same browsing session.

The bug permits a website to spy on other websites that the user visits while Safari is open, and because some websites use user-specific identifiers in their IndexedDB database names, personal information can be gleaned about the user and their browsing habits.

Browsers that use Apple's WebKit engine are impacted, and that includes Safari 15 for Mac and Safari for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. Some third-party browsers like Chrome are also affected on iOS and iPadOS 15, but the macOS Monterey 12.2, iOS 15.3, and iPadOS 15.3 updates fix the vulnerability.

FingerprintJS constructed a demo website to let users check to see whether they're impacted, and as 9to5Mac notes, after updating to the new software, the website detects no security holes.

The website is designed to tell users details about their Google accounts. On iOS 15.2.1 and macOS Monterey 12.1, we tested and the demo website was able to detect our Google account. After updating to the macOS Monterey 12.2 RC and the iOS 15.3 RC, the demo website no longer detects any data.

Apple earlier this week prepared a fix for the bug and uploaded it to the WebKit page on GitHub, so we knew that Apple was working to address the vulnerability. With the macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 release candidates now available, we could see these updates be made available to the public as soon as next week.

Tag: Safari
Related Forums: iOS 15, macOS Monterey

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
apple watch series 9 display

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 10 to Get Larger Screen and Thinner Design

Monday June 17, 2024 1:20 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 10 will be thinner and come in larger screen sizes than previous models, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his latest industry note -10-and-98075c44ce92">shared on Medium, Kuo said the screen size options on the next-generation Apple Watch will increase from 41mm to 45mm, and from 45mm to 49mm, while being encased in a thinner design. For reference,...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
Apple Pay Later feature 1

Apple Discontinuing Apple Pay Later

Monday June 17, 2024 11:44 am PDT by
Apple is discontinuing Apple Pay Later, the buy now, pay later feature that it just launched last October. Apple Pay Later is being discontinued as of today, but people who have existing Apple Pay Later loans will be able to continue to pay them off and manage them through the Wallet app. Apple announced plans to end the feature in a statement provided to 9to5Mac, which also notes that...
iOS 18 CarPlay Feature

iOS 18 Adds These 5 New Features to CarPlay

Thursday June 13, 2024 7:44 am PDT by
Apple did not mention CarPlay during its WWDC keynote this week, but iOS 18 includes a handful of new features for the in-car software. Overall, there is not a whole lot new for CarPlay on iOS 18, with changes seemingly limited to the Messages and Settings apps so far. Below, we recap everything new for CarPlay on iOS 18. New for CarPlay on iOS 18 1. Contact Photos in Messages App...
iPod Nano vs iPod Pro Ad Feature 1

Apple Developing Thinner MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone

Monday June 17, 2024 2:22 am PDT by
Apple intends to slim down the MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone, with the new ultra-thin M4 iPad Pro a sign of the company's new design trajectory, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. When the M4 iPad Pro was unveiled last month, Apple touted it as the company's thinnest product ever, and even compared it to the 2012 iPod nano to emphasize its slim dimensions. Writing in the latest ...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...

Top Rated Comments

Dave-Z Avatar
32 months ago

As discovered last week ('') by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS
It wasn't discovered last week. It was discovered last year, November 2021. It was disclosed to the public last week.

we knew that Apple was working to address the vulnerability in a timely manner
Addressing the issue nearly two months after it having been reported is not timely, especially considering this patch still hasn't reach the public. If the update comes out in one week that will have been two months since Apple first learned about it.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
centauratlas Avatar
32 months ago
"address the vulnerability in a timely manner.".

But is it really timely? Sure, timely since it was made public, but was it timely since they first were informed of it? I'd say no.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CaTOAGU Avatar
32 months ago
It really does feel a bit silly that we’re still having to wait on OS level updates to fix a bug in a web browser.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IGI2 Avatar
32 months ago

It wasn't discovered last week. It was discovered last year, November 2021. It was disclosed to the public last week.

Addressing the issue nearly two months after it having been reported is not timely, especially considering this patch still hasn't reach the public. If the update comes out in one week that will have been two months since Apple first learned about it.
But to be fair, Google Project Zero (and others) has a disclosure policy of 90 days.

We know that this is a privacy breach, but still, modern OSs are fairly complex. Getting to know about it, analysis, fixing it, incorporating in all variants, QA testing, and distributing it to all end users across the globe in one time, whether it's iPhone 6s or iPhone 13 Pro Max is still within reasonable "timely" manner.

We know that they had some public pressure; that's why it's even shorter if we count days since it landed in the news.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
beanbaguk Avatar
32 months ago
To all those members complaining about the "timely manner" statement. I would say this is very timely and your complaints indicate you have no experience in software development.

I've been in software development for many years (I am a Head of Product at a software technology company), and patching something isn't just a 5-minute job, even if you know what the issue is and how to fix it.

A small change on an API will impact many, many areas of a product and this means thorough testing is required, and diligence of any related libraries and products.

This is hugely time-consuming and since this product impacts so many platforms, it's not just a case of patching and letting it go into the wild. Especially in this instance, a security audit would have to also be conducted to show the result works, and this would have to be verified by multiple organisations.

Then, the patch has to be tested to ensure it deploys safely and correctly over the air. That update process takes time to implement, manage and check. It then needs checking again, more testing and feedback from users (beta), and devs to ensure they are not experiencing any issues. Again, all this takes time.

I hope this provides some perspective as to how and why these fixes take a little time.

It reminds me of the days when I used to build websites for clients. Talking to an individual who has zero ideas as to the complexities of a solid product is the most infuriating and patience-testing experience as a developer.

Anyway. Two months for a fix like this on this scale is perfectly acceptable.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macintosh TV Avatar
32 months ago
Mozilla has security issues that are more than 2 years old and filed in their system. Chrome has outstanding security issues older than this. Folks need to settle down. This stuff happens. It gets fixed. If you're unhappy with the speed at which a browser or OS patches issues, then it may be time to look elsewhere.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)