Feeds

Apple security lags (again) with critical Java patches

A month late, an OS short

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Comment Apple is once again playing security catch-up to the rest of the computing world, this time with an update for the Leopard version of its Mac operating system that patches critical holes in Java that were fixed on competing systems 29 days ago.

The patch updates Leopard to Java versions 1.6.0_15, 1.5.0_20, and 1.4.2_22, which Java creator Sun Microsystems released on August 5. No doubt, the four-week turn-around time is better than an update from June, when Apple trailed Sun by six months, but it's still problematic.

What's more, according to these specifications Apple posted in June, Tiger - the Mac OS X version that predated Leopard - continues to use Java versions 1.5.0_19 and 1.4.2_21, the same buggy iterations it warns could allow attackers to hijack end-user machines.

"Multiple vulnerabilities exist in Java 1.5.0_19, the most serious of which may allow an untrusted Java applet to obtain elevated privileges," Apple said in Thursday's advisory. "Visiting a web page containing a maliciously crafted untrusted Java applet may lead to arbitrary code execution with the privileges of the current user."

The advisory uses the same language to warn about vulnerabilities in Java 1.4.2_21.

It wouldn't be surprising for Apple to issue an update patching vulnerable Tiger machines soon. But a delay is nonetheless problematic in that it's a tacit admission from Apple - a company that repeatedly flogs the security superiority of its products - that an OS it continues to support is susceptible to vulnerabilities even its own engineers say puts its users at considerable peril.

The larger issue is that Apple continues to lag well behind its peers in fixing critical security bugs in a piece of software that runs on a majority of the world's computers and whose mantra is "write once run anywhere."

The Apple marketing machine can say what it wants about the supposed security of its products. And as we pointed out last week, the company has plenty to be proud of in Snow Leopard, its latest and greatest Mac OS. But until the company does a better job of keeping up with the rest of the pack updating OS X Java, Mac users are being needlessly exposed to serious threats. And no advertising campaign can change that. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.