Apple Patches 12 Serious Mac OS X Flaws

Apple’s first Mac OS X security update for 2010 is out, providing cover for at least 12 serious vulnerabilities.The update, rated critical, plugs security holes that could lead to code execution vulnerabilities if a Mac user is tricked into opening audio files or surfing to a rigged Web site.

Apple’s first Mac OS X security update for 2010 is out, providing cover for at least 12 serious vulnerabilities.

The update, rated critical, plugs security holes that could lead to code execution vulnerabilities if a Mac user is tricked into opening audio files or surfing to a rigged Web site.

With Security Update 2010-001, Apple also fixes flaws in the Adobe Flash Player plug-in that ships with the operating system.

Here’s the skinny of the vulnerabilities:

  • CoreAudio (CVE-2010-0036) — A buffer overflow exists in the handling of mp4 audio files. Playing a maliciously crafted mp4 audio file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.
  • CUPS (CVE-2009-3553) — A use-after-free issue exists in cupsd. By issuing a maliciously crafted get-printer-jobs request, an attacker may cause a remote denial of service. This is mitigated through the automatic restart of cupsd after its termination.
  • Flash Player plug-in (7 vulnerabilities) — Multiple issues exist in the Adobe Flash Player plug-in, the most serious of which may lead to arbitrary code execution when viewing a maliciously crafted web site. The issues are addressed by updating the Flash Player plug-in to version 10.0.42.
  • ImageIO (CVE-2009-2285) — A buffer underflow exists in ImageIO’s handling of TIFF images. Viewing a maliciously crafted TIFF image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.
  • Image RAW (CVE-2010-0037) — A buffer overflow exists in Image RAW’s handling of DNG images. Viewing a maliciously crafted DNG image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.
  • OpenSSL (CVE-2009-3555) — A man-in-the-middle vulnerability exists in the SSL and TLS protocols.  A change to the renegotiation protocol is underway within the IETF. This update disables renegotiation in OpenSSL as a preventive security measure. The issue does not affect services using Secure Transport as it does not support renegotiation. 

Suggested articles


  • Anonymous on

    I thought macs were invulnerable, so why would they need security patches?

  • Anonymous on

    So they stay that way?  They releases the fixes to you, not the vulnerabilities to the crackers.

  • Anonymous on

    Nothing is invulnerable, only much, much, much less vulnerable then windows.

  • Anonymous on

    Us mac users don't have to worry, cause absolutely no one is interested in writing viruses for the mac till it reaches 50.1% market share according to several "experts"..



  • Anonymous on

    Macs get attacked less because they have less market share.

    That will change if they ever take to the majority.

    One interesting article brings up an interesting point:



    "Application vulnerabilities exceed OS vulnerabilities"

    This is a component of the issue; market share means a much greater number of crappy programmers writing software for your platform.  So of COURSE windows is more vulnerable--because they're the winner in the OS game thus far.

    Also of note later in this article is the sideline that tacitly points out that Apple releases quicktime exploits into the Windows platform as well as the OSX platform.  And, indeed, Microsoft release Office exploits onto the Mac platform.


    After all is said and done, it's pretty difficult to make an argument these days as to who's more and less secure, since after migrating to the NT platform as the client OS, and also running as non-admin by default (with the release of Vista), the security model is comparable to other *nix OS's like OSX.  So quit your quibbling about who's more secure and who's not.

  • Anonymous on

    Someday Mac's might hit 5% market share, maybe.

    Of course it is not in the interest of Apple to do that.  Being exclusive and cool is the only real selling point.  Ain't it nice to know you can run windows in your mac?  That way you can run software that other people use.

  • Stefaan H. on

    For what it's worth: If market share would be a factor for virus writers, then Apache webservers would be under massive attack.  They are not.  ISS is more vulnerable.

    Criminals are lazy by definition.  They break in the most vulnerable, easiest systems first.  Market share has very little to do with it.  As for (bad or good) reputation, if that was a factor, Mac OS X would be under massive attack.  They are not.

    The most dangerous virus sits between the keyboard and the chair.

  • DR on

    OK, 12 "serious" vulnerabilities in Mac OS X.

    Let's see: 7 of them are in Adobe Flash, and are therefore not Apple bugs (and may be present in Flash for other systems, IDK).

    2 of them are in the handling of images and a 1 in the handling of mp4 files, and MAY lead to arbitrary code execution. Is it easy or hard to do so? Apparently  not too easy because no one has done it so far. If Apple holds 5% of the market, you would expect some hackers to attack Macs because 5% means dozens of millions of potential victims (most over-confident), too many to ignore.

    1 vulnerability is mitigated by the fact that cupsd restarts automatically.

    The last vulnerability is in in the SSL and TSL protocols, and thus is present in all modern operating systems.

    Are these vulnerabilities real? Certainly! Are Mac users fooling themselves when they believe to be invulnerable? That's also true. 

    But are the vulnerabilities as critical as this article implies? Only one of them: the one that affects most other systems also. (And maybe the 7 in Flash, but that's not part of the OS).

    Is this really the best shot you can give to Apple and it's deranged fanatics. Pathetic, people! 

  • Anonymous on

    1: Lifetime Mac user, from the very earliest Mac's, only one WDEF virus on a game disk. None since. 2: What makes OS X and Linux secure, file permissions. Windows, not. 3: Hundreds of thousands of Windows malware, only a few trojans and 20 or so root kits, requiring tricked permission to install. Windows, anything goes. 4: OS X market share is around 10%, still no uninvited malware. You would think at least one right? Just to knock us snobs off our high horses? 5: PEBKAC doesn't matter, Google and thirty other companies where hacked through Windows despite having the best IT people. They can't rewrite the OS to make it secure by default. The problem exists at Microsoft, their alliance with Uncle Snoop Sam and military intelligence arm.
  • Anonymous (not verified) on

    If hackers only attack the systems that have most market share, how come there are so many more vulnerabilities and actual attacks to webservers running IIS than servers running Apache?

    Apache has over twice the market share of IIS, and yet it has far less vulnerabilities and gets attacked far less than IIS.

    If Apple has 5% of the market share and their OS was just as insecure as Windows, you would expect 5% of the viruses attacking Macs. Or at least 1%. But the actual number is far less, and most are concept viruses, not actual exploits.

    5% of hundreds of millions of internet-connected computers are way too many to ignore if you are a smart hacker.

  • Dbug on

    "Macs get attacked less because they have less market share. That will change if they ever take to the majority."

    It is dangerous to take oversimplified observations and treat them as if they were some sort of fundamental law of behavior. While the large number of Windows vulnerabilities and the large installed base of users does make machines on that platform a juicy target for theft and ontaining bots on a large scale through widespread easily spotted attacks, it would be very foolish to assume that either the motivation of the attacker or the nature of the attacks is always like that. Someone wanting to target a specific person, business, agency, or facility will go after whatever platfform they are running popular or not. There don't need to be many vulnerabilities, it only takes ONE good one. And it may be a vulnerability that the attacker knows of, but not the software or ant-virus vendors. Not everyone that discovers a vulnerability is going to tell vendors or the world about it.

    The recent attacks from China included Adobe. They may have found out about vulnerabilities is Flash, Acrobat Reader, media formats etc. to use in additional attacks (on any platform using those technolgies). KUDOS to Apple for acting very quickly under the circumstances. Although Macs may be free of Windows style widespread attacks that are as common as colds in flu season, any potential vulnerability has to be taken seriously because it still potentially could be exploited in some situation. User would be wise to disable some browser technologies (like Flash and Javascript) except for when they're really needed. Many use Firefox with the Noscript plugin to do just that. Be wary of sites and media files you're given links to or get in email.

    To illustrate how long a vunerability can be around, one was just publicized that dates back to Windows 3.1 era of 17 years ago, that affects everything up through Windows 7. Microsoft knew about it since the middle of last year and still hadn't fixed it. (It is only for compatibility for older software and can be disabled, but of course one loses the functionality then)

  • Anonymous on

    7 flash vulnerabilities? we really need html5 ...

  • Anonymous on

    No, you've got it all wrong. The real reason that malware doesn't target the mac platform is because anti-virus vendors cant be bothered targeting both platforms, so they don't write malware for the mac.
  • jimP on

    the whole market-share vs apache debate...

    becuase IIS is a peice of p*ss to set up and anyone can do it with their home connection, sometimes they DO have it if certain software is installed without even realising it.

    If someone finds an IIS server theres a much higher probability of the server being unpatched and having vulnerabilities to exploit than the *nix server next to it running apache, which chances are is run by a techie who actually knows what they're doing


  • Anonymous on

    Mac OSX is actually one of the most vulnerable OS's out there. People don't write viruses targeted to it because their market share is so low as many have noted. Mac OSX still doesn't have proper address space layout randomization- of all of the OS's out there, they have the weakest solution. It's only a matter of time.....tick...tick..tick


  • Anonymous on

    All there is to it.

  • ComputerUser on

    "Mac OSX is actually one of the most vulnerable OS's out there."  Really?  Because Mac OSX "still doesn't have proper address space layout randomization"?  This is like putting a personal fire extinguisher into a Ford Pinto and then claiming that Ford Pintos are safer than Volvos because Volvos don't have personal fire extinguishers. Of course, the reason that Volvos don't have personal fire extinguishers in every car is because, unlike Ford Pintos, Volvos don't have a history of exploding into a fiery inferno when rear-ended.

    Macs don't have ASLR? Who cares? MS implemented ASLR in order to make life more difficult for viruses and trojans — because having ASLR makes the location of critical files in memory unpredictable. Macs solved this problem back in 2002 by adopting the user/group/world permissions schema used successfully since 1979 by UNIX systems. Someone keeps breaking into your home? MAC solves this by putting proper locks on the doors. MS solves this by randomly relocating the rooms of the house.

    Honestly, "Anonymous"... hardly a month goes by without some news about a new windows exploit or a new windows update to protect against an exploit (or several exploits), and every time it seems that these exploits allow arbitrary code execution... which is a nice way of saying that someone can take make your PC do something that you don't approve or even know about.  Yet, at the end of the year, I'll read some security report that says that Windows OS had no critical security flaws whatsoever!  It's amazing!  If "someone can take control of your computer without your knowledge or consent" isn't a "critical" security flaw, what is, exactly?  Malware that causes your PC to spontaneously combust?  A trojan that gives you cancer?  What??  If arbitrary code execution isn't "critical", then Windows must be a heck of a lot more insecure than even I realized.

    Saying that "Mac OS is one of the most vulnerable OSes out there" is one thing, but let's hear some facts to back up that opinion.  Surely you have many, many examples of vulnerabilities of Mac OS, or you wouldn't be making this claim, so let's hear them.  I hope that you have more than just "Mac doesn't have ASLR"... because if you don't, you'll look like an ignorant ass who has swallowed the Microsoft FUD hook, line, and sinker.

  • digitalFlack on

    Short memories?

    IN the late nineties I worked at Apple, the OS was 9.  There were plenty of viruses, I personally as a systems engineer spent hundreds of hours in corporate accounts fighting them.  Apple's market share between 1995 and 1999 was well under 4%

    By 2000, OS X began penetrating the Mac user base.  Today, by any measurements, Mac installed base as apercent has doubled (somehwere between 7% and 8.5% depending who is counting.)  Total annual shipments of Macs has nearly quadrupled (as PC shipments have at least doubled in that time.)

    The viruses have not come back.  Arm chair theorists need to explain that dilemma before basing their theories on incomplete hypotheses.







  • Anonymous on

    People fail to mention the registry in Windows.  Malware often gets hooks in there and can hide from the user.  To keep my Windows systems running right, there is all kinds of extra programs required just to clean up.  Besides the anti-virus and anti-spamware, I also have to run other "cleaner" type programs that clean up the registry, clean up temporary files, remove programs that can't be removed completely the standard way, de-frag the disks, etc.  Granted, I have not  upgrade to latest Windows, still using XP, but my understanding is the new ones aren't that much better.  They still have the registry, for example.

  • Scorge on

    Sorry, but Its easier to code a virus for a mac than a windows, is as easy as using a mac... sorry for the dissapointed people, dont beleave me, ask real hackers

  • JF on

    What kills me is... 

    a) An incredible number of self-assured posters here don't read the other posts before commenting so authoritatively on things that have either already been said or disproven. 

    b) An even greater majority of posters here and users in general, who vociferously defend or attack an operating system, do so with no or little experience of the "other" operating system in the discussion.

    c) And to cap it off, so many of the posters here throw "facts" out there that they've never bothered to confirm, as though stating were all the proof required.

    No operating system is immune to viruses, just as there's never been a human that's cheated the common cold. But fact of the matter is that some are designed to resist attacks better than others. Those with a technical background (hackers included) can tell you which systems those are.

Subscribe to our newsletter, Threatpost Today!

Get the latest breaking news delivered daily to your inbox.