Feeds

Apple code of secrecy imperils Aunt Mildred

Critical patches released (sort of)

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.