Feeds

Apple code of secrecy imperils Aunt Mildred

Critical patches released (sort of)

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Those who use Apple's iTunes or QuickTime on either a Mac or Windows machine, or who own an iPod touch, will want to install newly released updates that fix a raft of serious security bugs. Not that Apple is going out of its way to warn of the risks, mind you.

The most serious of the batch seem to be updates for QuickTime, which plug holes that could allow attackers to hijack a Mac or PC simply by tricking a user into viewing a maliciously crafted video or picture. (And given the presence of millions of recently compromised websites, how hard can that be?)

Screenshot of Apple Software Update

Other flaws reside in iTunes that lead to misleading firewall dialog messages and, on Windows machines, the ability to escalate system privileges. Apple also exorcised several Windows-specific demons from Bonjour, an iTunes component that allows computers to locate and connect to other devices on a local network. Those bugs make it possible for remote miscreants to spoof DNS responses, among other things.

Apple also updated software for the iPod touch. Among the security bugs that were squashed was a flaw that allowed one application to read the files used by a separate application. Other vulnerabilities reside in an application known as FreeType that could allow the execution of arbitrary code when accessing maliciously crafted font data.

Sadly, when we fired up iTunes, QuickTime and the Apple Software Update applications on our Windows XP machine, we were hard pressed to find any mention of a security bug. Instead (as the screenshot to the right illustrates), what we got was a lot of fluff about Genius and other new bells and whistles added to iTunes. That may be of little consequence to hard-core techies who read El Reg, but for Aunt Mildrid using her brand-new MacBook Pro, that lack of a clear warning is dangerous.

Apple's diligence in stamping out bugs is commendable. But its Howard Hughesian obsession with secrecy and marketing imperils their considerable number of users, and that's a pity. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.