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Apple Security Patch Flubs DNS Fix

Despite Apple's patch, the fix for the DNS cache poisoning vulnerability is far from done, according to a SANS security researcher.

Apple on Thursday released Security Update 2008-005, a collection of 17 fixes for security vulnerabilities in its Mac OS X operating system.

Among the fixes is what looks to be a patch for the DNS cache poisoning vulnerability that security experts spent most of July warning about.

But according to security researcher Swa Frantzen from the SANS Internet Storm Center, Apple's fix hasn't quite done the trick.

"Apple might have fixed some of the more important parts for servers, but is far from done yet as all the clients linked against a DNS client library still need to get the workaround for the protocol weakness," Frantzen said in a blog post.

The issue appears to be that despite Apple's patch, BIND under OS X is incrementing the ports it uses to communicate DNS information in a predictable pattern.

With the premature disclosure of details about the vulnerability 10 days ago and the subsequent appearance of exploit code, US-CERT and the rest of the security community urged immediate repair of vulnerable DNS software.

Unlike other companies that moved swiftly to deal with the problem, Apple dragged its feet. Three weeks after security researcher Dan Kaminsky warned about the flaw on July 8, Apple still had not dealt with the issue, prompting widespread criticism.

"With active exploit code available in a common attack tool, it is imperative that Apple fix this vulnerability," wrote Rich Mogull and Glenn Fleishman in TidBits on July 24. "Due to their involvement in the process and the ability of other vendors to fix their products in a timely fashion, it's hard to imagine any possible justification for Apple's tardy behavior."

Aside from the ineffective fix to BIND, the DNS software used by Mac OS X, Thursday's patch includes fixes for the following Mac OS X components: Open Scripting Architecture, CarbonCore, CoreGraphics, Data Detectors Engine, Disk Utility, OpenLDAP, OpenSSL, PHP, QuickLook, and rsync.

Among these, the most serious issues fixed involve CarbonCore, CoreGraphics, OpenSSL, and QuickLook. If exploited, the vulnerabilities in these components could lead to arbitrary code execution.

Security Update 2008-005 applies to Mac OS X Server 10.4, Security, Mac OS X 10.4.11, Mac OS X Server 10.5, and Mac OS X 10.5.4. It can be downloaded from Apple's Web site or through the Software Update control panel in Mac OS X.

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