By Dawn Kawamoto
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
August 16, 2005
Apple Computer has released what seems to be one of its larger
security updates for Mac OS X, doling out fixes for 44 flaws.
Still, only a handful of the vulnerabilities are of major concern,
according to security analysts. The package of fixes was released
"This one is a big update. I don't recall seeing as many updates as we
see today," said Thomas Kristensen, Secunia's chief technology
By comparison, Apple last May released an update for 20
vulnerabilities and in March distributed an update for a dozen flaws.
But Kristensen noted that, with the new update, only a few of the 44
vulnerabilities are of great concern. He also said that 25 percent of
the patches involve older vulnerabilities that have yet to lead to
exploit code being developed by attackers. Still, Secunia is rating
the overall update as "highly critical."
Apple declined to comment on the vulnerabilities and referred all
questions to its security update.
The flaws affect Apple's Mac OS 10.3.9 and 10.4.2 operating system
software and related server software.
Kristensen said that some vulnerabilities involving AppKit and Safari
AppKit, which is used to open RTFs (rich text files) and Word
documents, has flaws that allow a remote attacker to create a
malicious file that results in a buffer overflow. That in turn can
lead to arbitrary code being executed on a user's system.
Apple, however, notes that only some applications use AppKit, and that
Microsoft Word for Mac OS X is not vulnerable.
Flaws in Safari, meanwhile, can allow an attacker to bypass the
browser's security checks and execute arbitrary commands, when the
user clicks on a maliciously crafted rich text file.
Another flaw, a vulnerability in Apple's Sever Manager D, a modified
version of Apache, is also being considered critical by some.
That flaw can result in a buffer overflow and remote execution of code
by an attacker, with no user interaction, said Frank Nagle, assistant
director of vulnerability aggregation for iDefense, a VeriSign
Previous Next Although Apple lists other security flaws that could be
exploited by a remote attacker, they are "less critical," according to
For example, two vulnerabilities in Apache 2 could be exploited by a
remote attacker to either bypass security restrictions or launch a
But Apple did not set Apache 2 by default, so it is less of an issue
than it would be if the same vulnerabilities affected Apache 1.3,
Sept 16-18th, 2005
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