Feeds

Apple patch fiasco invites trouble

It's just a matter of time...

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

According to the Apple website, Security Update 2005-007 was released to the public on August 12, 2005. And, as with all of their recent security updates, it is available to all Apple customers free of charge. I'm sure none of you reading this article will argue with me about that being a good thing.

For those of you that remember, Apple included some security patches in their release of Mac OS X Panther in 2003. These security patches were originally exclusive to Panther, and users of Mac OS X Jaguar were unable to obtain these updates without paying for an upgrade to the newer version. Whether this was done intentionally or not is still a mystery, as updates were released for Jaguar after various discussions in the media and within the security industry caused enough backlash to force a change.

What's interesting here is that Apple has chosen to release updates for both the most and second-most current release of their operating system since this initial incident in 2003. As an example, this most recent Security Update contains updates for Tiger (10.4.x), as well as Panther (10.3.x). This is a good thing, and shows that the Apple product security team is making changes and evolving to fit the needs of their customers.

However, Apple still has a long way to go. The time that it takes Apple to release patches for some publicly disclosed vulnerabilities in open source components of their operating systems is nothing less than abysmal, and it's only a matter of time before continued evolution of their security practices can be preemptive, and not reactionary.

We'll release when we're ready

On the Apple Product Security web page, the following is written with regard to Apple's policy on security notifications for their products.

"For the protection of our customers, Apple does not disclose, discuss or confirm security issues until a full investigation has occurred and any necessary patches or releases are available."

This policy is similar to that used by Microsoft, who only recently began to release interim "Security Advisories" for certain events, including the public confirmation of vulnerabilities for which no patch is available.

The fact is, these operating system vendors can take a long time to patch security vulnerabilities once they're notified of the problem. Unfortunately, there's a big difference between Apple and Microsoft when it comes to bugs in their operating system. I would argue that Microsoft is in a far more advantageous position, oddly enough, because their operating system doesn't contain so much open source software.

New hybrid storage solutions

Next page: Time to patch

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.