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Microsoft, Apple trumpet bevy of critical vulns

Whether you're a Mac or a PC, you need patching

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Whether you use a Mac or a PC, be prepared to install a bumper crop of security patches on your machine in the near future.

On Thursday, both Apple and Microsoft warned of critical vulnerabilities in their flagship software products that could allow attackers to take control of users' machines. Updates fixing more than 40 flaws in both the Tiger and Leopard versions of Mac OS X are available immediately. Fixes for at least 11 vulnerabilities in a variety of Microsoft titles will be released Tuesday.

The Mac bugs reside in a wide range of third-party components, including the Clam anti-virus, Common Unix Printing System, and Apache, PHP, and MySQL servers. Apple is also fixing some home-grown technologies, including Finder and launchpad.

Bugs that sound particularly pernicious include the following:

  • libxslt. Because of a heap buffer overflow, viewing a maliciously crafted HTML page may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.
  • PSNormalizer. A buffer overflow could allow a maliciously crafted PostScript file to cause an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.
  • Networking. A heap buffer overflow in the local IPC component of configd's EAPOLController plugin could allow a local user to obtain system privileges.

For its part, Microsoft said it would issue 11 updates to fix security bugs in Windows, Internet Explorer, Active Directory, Office, and Host Integration Server. Four of the updates - affecting IE, Excel, Active Directory, and Host Integration Server - are rated critical, a designation that means the vulnerabilities can allow the remote hijacking of a PC with little or no interaction from the user.

The updates will be released on Tuesday. Today's details were made available through Microsoft's Security Bulletin Advance Notification, which is released on the Thursday preceding the second Tuesday of every month. ®

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