Apple Mac computers and iPad tablets are potentially susceptible to a serious vulnerability that could expose cryptographic keys and passwords on certain devices.

A flaw in Apple’s M-series chips can be used by hackers via a malware attack to steal cryptographic keys, including those that secure cryptocurrency wallets, according to researchers from various universities. 

And while the real-world risks of the exploit might be low, it’s not something you’ll want to ignore if you hold a large amount of crypto in a software wallet on a potentially vulnerable Mac. Here’s a quick primer on the situation, based on what’s been reported and disclosed to date.

What’s the issue?

Researchers announced last week that they discovered a critical vulnerability within Apple’s M-series chips used in Macs and iPads that can potentially allow an attacker to gain access to cryptographically secure keys and codes.

The issue boils down to a technique called “prefetching,” which Apple’s…

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