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6/27/2006
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Apple Fixes Vulnerabilities In OS X Update

The vulnerabilities allow attackers to launch a denial-of-service attack, view the names of files and folders in search results, or execute code with elevated privileges.

Apple Tuesday released Mac OS X version 10.4.7, which fixes several security vulnerabilities that at least one security vendor rated as serious.

Although the issues don't affect OS X versions prior to 10.4., and no exploits have been reported, Symantec assigned its highest severity rating -- 10 out of 10 -- to the vulnerabilities in an advisory issued Tuesday afternoon to subscribers of its DeepSight Threat Management System.

According to the advisory, OS X has a stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability that is triggered when viewing malformed TIFF images, which could give hackers a way to control program execution flow and repeatedly crash a system, resulting in a de facto denial of service attack against authorized users.

A vulnerability affecting OpenLDAP, an open source version of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), could be used by remote attackers to send invalid requests and crash the service, which would also result in a denial of service scenario.

A flaw in the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) server could allow unauthorized users to view the names of files and folders in search results, which could cause sensitive information in file and folder names to be compromised.

Finally, a local format-string vulnerability in Launchd, the program-launching mechanism in OS X, could be used by hackers to execute code with elevated privileges, according to the Symantec advisory.

George Swords, marketing manager for PowerMacPac, an Apple reseller in Portland, Ore., hasn't encountered any of the security issues outlined in the Symantec bulletin, but says exploits are possible in any operating system.

"The bottom line is there are always going to be tweaks and updates to any operating system," Swords said. "Having potential security issues fixed before they're exploited is definitely a good thing."

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