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Apple, which perpetually makes fun of Microsoft's Windows for being "buggy" and "virus prone" is yet again endangering its users with lax security and poorly written code.  (Source: Apple)

This time Apple's latest security woe is a "highly critical" flaw in its Safari browser; and Apple is yet again silent on the issue.
Cyberthieves can use the vulnerability to execute arbitrary code, steal information

Apple's arrogant air when it comes to security has yet again come back to bite it.  This time Danish security research firm Secunia discovered yet another vulnerability in the web browser Safari, which they billed as "highly critical" -- their most serious rating.

Secondary confirmation of the bug came from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) (part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security), which issued an advisory after Polish researcher Krystian Kloskowski disclosed the bug on Friday.

The bug exploits Apple's poor implementation of code that handle's the browser's parent windows.  According to Secunia, "This can be exploited to execute arbitrary code when a user visits a specially-crafted Web page and closes opened pop-up windows."

US-CERT adds that HTML email opened in webmail services such as Gmail or Windows Live Hotmail may also exploit the flaw.  By compromising the operating system, hackers are free to log user information (such as credit cards or personal contacts) and install malware to accomplish a host of evils.

The flaw works in Windows 7 on the latest version of Safari 4 (4.0.5).  "Other versions may also be affected" according to US-CERT -- so OS X users of Safari aren't off the hook yet.  Charlie Miller, noted Mac hacker and security expert was not available to verify whether the bug existed in OS X.  He's on vacation after hacking Safari and earning $10,000 in loot in March at the Pwn2Own contest.

Miller has stated that Macs and Apple software are often easier to hack than PCs and Windows software.  Overall there's been relatively little interest in hacking Macs or Apple products, but what little attention there has been has revealed a host of security flaws.  Apple patched 16 flaws in Safari in mid-March -- including 10 that affected OS X.  Miller's exploit was among those flaws fixed.

Apple is keeping quiet on the latest danger to its customers -- its usual response to such security dangers.  Security experts at US-CERT and Secunia are providing Safari users with some sound advice for now at least -- don't open untrusted HTML emails, and disable JavaScript except on trusted sites.

Many security experts have criticized Apple's lax stance on security and poorly implemented products.  Charlie Miller states, "Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town."

Or as Mac researcher Dino Dai Zovi once put it, "There is no magic fairy dust protecting Macs.  Writing exploits for [Microsoft] Vista is hard work. Writing exploits for Mac is a lot of fun."


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The difference
By Abrahmm on 5/10/2010 5:51:22 PM , Rating: 5
It's interesting to note the difference in the way Apple and Microsoft respond to security threats. Microsoft will issue warnings, post up temporary work arounds to protect users, and try to get a patch out as quick as possible. Apple on the other hand puts their hands over their ears, screams "Lalalalala", and might possibly get a fix out in 8-10 months.




RE: The difference
By adiposity on 5/10/2010 5:58:43 PM , Rating: 2
Well there have been times where MS didn't fix security holes for literally years. So let's not praise them too much, just because Apple are idiots, too.


RE: The difference
By SoCalBoomer on 5/10/2010 6:12:13 PM , Rating: 5
doesn't change the fact that for the VAST majority of the problems that have come up for MS Windows, they've taken pretty quick and predictable action; while the opposite is true of Apple.


RE: The difference
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2010 8:14:32 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
and might possibly get a fix out in 8-10 months.


A fix in the form of updates you have to pay for. Don't forget that.


RE: The difference
By chick0n on 5/11/2010 10:26:13 AM , Rating: 2
Those are FEATURES! You got that ?

Whats wrong with having new bug fixes ... err I mean FEATURES every year or so ?


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