Adobe releases Flash Player 11.4.402.287 update

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Date: Monday, October 8th, 2012, 08:33
Category: News, security, Software

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On Monday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.4.402.287 for Mac OS X, a 11.9 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version is for Adobe Flash Player 11.4.402.265 and earlier versions and adds the following fixes and changes:

– Fixes for critical vulnerabilities identified in Security Bulletin APSB12-22.

Flash Player 11.4.402.287 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please feel free to hurl your two cents in via the comments.

Apple Security Update 2012-004 out the door for Mac OS X 10.6.x operating systems

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Date: Thursday, September 20th, 2012, 07:07
Category: News, security, Software

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You can’t go wrong with a timely security update.

Late Wednesday, Apple released Security Update 2012-004, the company’s most recent security update for its Mac OS X 10.6.x (Snow Leopard) operating systems.

The update, a 2.36 megabyte download, offers a series of fixes and changes detailed here.

Security Update 2012-004 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

Apple releases Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10, Java for OS X Lion 2012-005

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Date: Thursday, September 6th, 2012, 06:18
Category: News, security, Software

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If there’s a Java update out there, it might be worth snagging.

Per the cool cats at The Mac Observer, Apple updated Java for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Wednesday with the release of Java for OS X 2012-005 along with the release of Apple Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10. The updates, which vary in terms of download size given the version used, tweak Java controls by automatically turning the Java plugin off when no Java applets have been run for an extended period of time.

Apple’s patch notes also specify that if users hadn’t installed the previous version of Java (Java for for OS X Lion 2012-004), that the Java plugin will be disabled immediately.

The releases add the following fixes and changes:

– Delivers improved security, reliability, and compatibility by updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_35.

The updates can be located, snagged and installed with Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run while the Java for OS X Lion 2012-005 update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the updates and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Oracle releases patch for Java 1.7, works to close hole on discovered security flaw

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Date: Friday, August 31st, 2012, 06:33
Category: News, security, Software

With any luck, the patch fixed the issue.

Per AppleInsider, Oracle on Thursday released a patch for the Java 1.7 runtime, plugging a recently discovered security hole that allowed malware to take over any operating system when a user visits a malicious website.

In an update to its “CVE-2012-4681″ security alert, Oracle addressed three separate vulnerabilities and one “security-in-depth” issue affecting Java 7.

It was reported on Monday that a new zero-day exploit had been discovered and proven to be effective within the Java 1.7 runtime, which includes the latest Java 7 update, in browsers on any operating system.

According to researchers, the flaw allows malware to breach the security of a Mac or PC by having a user visit a compromised website hosting the attack code. Because Java came bundled with older versions of OS X like Leopard or Snow Leopard, Macs running the legacy software are potentially more vulnerable to the attack than those with the latest 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Apple removed Java from OS X last year with the release of 10.7 Lion after a security flaw in Oracle’s software allowed the infamous Flashback trojan to affect a reported 600,000 Macs. As a safety precaution, users must now authenticate browser requests to download and install Java, proactively blocking potential exploits.

From Oracle’s alert:
“If successfully exploited, these vulnerabilities can provide a malicious attacker the ability to plant discretionary binaries onto the compromised system, e.g. the vulnerabilities can be exploited to install malware, including Trojans, onto the targeted system. Note that this malware may in some instances be detected by current antivirus signatures upon its installation.”

The patch for Java 1.7 can be downloaded directly from Oracle’s java.com web site, while more information about the security issues can be found at the company’s security page

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Analyst: Java 1.7 zero-day less likely to affect Mac users due to lack of current installed base on platform

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Date: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012, 07:53
Category: News, security

Yesterday, we posted as to a new Java vulnerability that could open the gates for additional malware on the Mac.

Today, there’s some better news regarding this.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, online backup service CrashPlan co-founder Matthew Dornquist had the following to offer about the new Java vulnerability and what it could mean for the Mac.

In a recent study of a random sample of 200K recent users; Dornquist’s numbers showed that the overwhelming majority of CrashPlan’s Mac users are on Java 1.6 (92%) and a small minority on the older 1.5 version. The percentage on the 1.7 version targeted by the malware? Approximately zero.

Research shop FireEye identified a Java zero-day exploit this weekend that is already targeting fully patched versions of the Java JRE version 1.7 running on Windows machines. The exploit attempts to install a dropper executable (Dropper.MsPMs) on the machines it attacks. In theory, a separate dropper could be crafted to attack Mac or Linux systems, although none has yet been observed in the wild.

That’s a reason for Mac users to rest a little more easily, but it’s not the big one. As noted by CNET, the vulnerable edition of the JRE — 1.7 — isn’t installed by default in a stock configuration of OS X. The Java that Apple delivers on Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion is JRE 1.6 (and on Lion and Mountain Lion, it’s only installed on demand when needed to run Java applications); in order to be on 1.7 and be theoretically susceptible, you’d have to install the Oracle beta build manually.

If you did install the Oracle build and you’re concerned about the new exploit, you can disable the Java plugin in each of your browsers individually, or uninstall 1.7 entirely. While it bears repeating that there is no evidence of a Mac payload for this exploit at this time, if you don’t have a specific reason to run the new version then it’s probably safest to stick with JRE 1.6 instead (or turn off Java completely if you don’t need it). In response to past exploits including Flashback, Apple’s Java web plugin is now set to auto-disable when it isn’t used for some time, further reducing the attack surface for Mac users.

So, yeah, try to avoid manually updating to Java 1.7 on your Mac until this is sorted out and we’ll have additional details as they become available.

Java vulnerability discovered, researchers warn of potential new malware for Mac OS X platform

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Date: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012, 06:53
Category: News, security, Software

You’ll never lack a job in IT security…

Per Computerworld, researchers announced on Monday that hackers are taking advantage of a zero-day vulnerability in Oracle’s Java 7, with the newly discovered flaw able to exploit any platform, including Apple’s OS X.

According to Tod Beardsley, engineering manager for open-source testing framework Metasploit, hackers can use the bug to compromise any system through a web browser running the latest Java software.

While there have yet to be reports of the new exploit affecting Macs, Errata Security confirmed the Metasploit exploit is effective against the latest Java 1.7 runtime on Apple’s latest OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Mac users running older versions of OS X, like Snow Leopard or Leopard, could be more vulnerable as those operating systems came bundled with Java, however the new exploit is actually in Oracle’s latest software, dubbed “Update 6.”

“The vulnerability is not in Java 6, it’s in new functionality in Java 7,” said Beardsley.

He went on to call the bug “super dangerous” and said a potential piece of malware can feasibly compromise the security of a Mac by simply having a user visit a website that is host to the attack code. This means both purpose-built malicious sites as well as those which have been hacked can compromise a system.

“What is more worrisome is the potential for this to be used by other malware developers in the near future,” said antivirus vendor Intego. “Java applets have been part of the installation process for almost every malware attack on OS X this year.”

As Oracle has not yet released a patch for the exploit, Beardsley recommends users disable Java until one is pushed out.

Mac users can visit Java’s site here to check if they have the 1.7 runtime installed. Alternately, the “Java Preferences” application can also be used to make sure the software is disabled.

The new flaw is the latest in a number of security holes found in Java code on OS X, including the infamous Flashback trojan that reportedly affected some 600,000 Macs worldwide. Apple released a removal tool specifically tailored for the malware, later disabling the Java runtime in subsequent versions of Safari. Java was removed from OS X when Lion was released last year, forcing users to authorize a browser request to download and install the software if an applet for the runtime appears.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple advocates use of iMessage in wake of SMS bug discovery

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Date: Monday, August 20th, 2012, 07:11
Category: iPhone, News, security, Software

Ok, this is going to require a fix.

Following a discovery last week wherein Pod2G uncovered a SMS flaw in iOS that lets someone send a spoofed SMS (in this scenario, the SMS would appear to be from a trusted source, but the response would actually be sent to someone else), the cool cats at Engadget reached out to Apple for comment and received the following reply:

“Apple takes security very seriously. When using iMessage instead of SMS, addresses are verified which protects against these kinds of spoofing attacks. One of the limitations of SMS is that it allows messages to be sent with spoofed addresses to any phone, so we urge customers to be extremely careful if they’re directed to an unknown website or address over SMS.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and with any luck, a fix should be en route soon.

Adobe releases Flash Player 11.3.300.271 update

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Date: Tuesday, August 14th, 2012, 15:39
Category: News, security, Software

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Late Wednesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.3.300.271 for Mac OS X, a 11.6 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version adds a slew of security fixes outlined here.

Flash Player 11.3.300.271 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please feel free to hurl your two cents in via the comments.

Yahoo details password theft hack, explains which accounts are at risk

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2012, 11:59
Category: News, security

So…this was awkward…

Following up on last week’s hack in which more than 450,000 passwords were stolen from one of its many services, Internet service Yahoo has stated that “We have…now fixed this vulnerability, deployed additional security measures for affected Yahoo! users, enhanced our underlying security controls and are in the process of notifying affected users,” the company announced in a post to its blog early Friday.

Yahoo has offered no specific information about the attack, how it was carried out or even when. It confirmed the attack Thursday.

Per Computerworld, the hacker group D33Ds Company took responsibility for the breach, saying it had exploited a basic SQL injection vulnerability in a Yahoo service to steal the usernames and passwords associated with 453,000 accounts. The group published the passwords and email addresses on the Web.

Yahoo also confirmed that the stolen account credentials belonged to registered users of its Yahoo Contributor Network, which was previously known as Associated Content.

Yahoo Contributor Network is a platform that generates high-volume, low-cost content by letting writers, photographers, and others share their work with Yahoo members and earn money based on the traffic their content generates. Users who contribute to the network are required to sign in using a Yahoo, Google or Facebook ID.

Associated Content, which was founded in 2005, was bought by Yahoo for just over US$100 million in May 2010. Yahoo renamed the service in late 2011, when it also launched Yahoo Voices, a portal where users access content posted by the Yahoo Contributor Network.

According to Yahoo, only people who registered as providers with Associated Content before the 2010 acquisition were affected by the password theft. “[The] compromised file was a standalone file that was not used to grant access to Yahoo! systems and services,” Yahoo maintained.

Just under a third of the stolen passwords were linked to accounts registered to a yahoo.com email address, security company Rapid7 said Thursday. Significant chunks of the file, however, were composed of Gmail (23.6 percent of all accounts) and Hotmail (12.2 percent) addresses.

All users with older Associated Content accounts, no matter the email address used, should immediately change the passwords for those email accounts as well as any identical or similar passwords used to secure other online services or websites, security experts have said.

Rapid7 security researcher Marcus Carey said yesterday that the file published by D33Ds included 123 government email accounts—ones ending with “.gov”—and 235 military-related addresses (ending with “.mil”). Among the government email accounts, Carey found several associated with the FBI, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Security experts have been scathing in their criticism of Yahoo, in large part because the passwords were stored in plain-text, making the hackers’ job of exploiting the stolen accounts a breeze.

Thursday, Mark Bower, a data protection expert and executive at Voltage Security, said, “It’s utter negligence to store passwords in the clear.”

Also on Thursday, Rob Rachwald, director of security strategy at Imperva, took Yahoo to the woodshed. “To add insult to injury, the passwords were stored in clear text and not hashed (encoded),” Rachwald wrote in a blog post. “One would think the recent LinkedIn breach would have encouraged change, but no. Rather, this episode will only inspire hackers worldwide.”

In its Friday blog, Yahoo again apologized to users affected by the password theft.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available…and it never hurts to change your password every so often.

Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) currently impervious to new Java malware, older operating systems remain susceptible

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Date: Thursday, July 12th, 2012, 09:43
Category: News, security, Software

Following up on yesterday’s new Java malware story, there’s some good news: if you’re running Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), you’re in the clear.

Per Macworld, the new Java malware was discovered on a compromised Colombian Transport website, with a bit of social engineering thrown in for good measure: You need to approve the installation of a Java applet, which OS X will warn you is from a root certificate that “is not trusted,” to get infected.

Once authorized, the exploit downloads additional malicious code from the Web. Security firm Sophos says that the malware then attempts to open a backdoor on your computer, through which hackers could remotely access the machine.

Because the Mac version of the malware runs as a PowerPC app, only Macs that can run PowerPC software are at risk. Since Lion (and Mountain Lion) no longer include Rosetta, the technology that allows Intel-based Macs to run PowerPC software, computers running those versions of Mac OS X cannot be infected.

Mac users may not too fondly experience some flashbacks to the insidious Flashback Trojan horse that affected even fully up-to-date Macs, since Apple hadn’t kept up with Java security updates as rigorously as its competitors. Starting in late April, Java developer Oracle began issuing security updates directly to Mac users at the same time those updates became available for other platforms, bypassing Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.