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Apple plugs Safari vulnerabilities that left users open to attack

15 Aug 2014
Apple has issued fixes for its Safari browser

Apple has released security fixes for vulnerabilities in its Safari web browser which left users open to attacks from cyber criminals.

The fixes relate to Safari 6.1.6 and Safari 7.0.6 and are available from the Apple support page now for OS X Lion v10.7.5, OS X Lion Server v10.7.5, OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.5 and OS X Mavericks v10.9.4.

The bugs exist in Safari's WebKit and, according to Apple, mean that "visiting a maliciously crafted website may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution".

It is currently unclear whether the vulnerability is actively being exploited by hackers, as Apple has a steadfast policy of not commenting on security issues.

"For the protection of our customers, Apple does not disclose, discuss or confirm security issues until a full investigation has occurred and any necessary patches or releases are available," reads Apple's security policy.

F-Secure security researcher Sean Sullivan told V3 the firm is yet to see any evidence the vulnerabilities are being actively exploited, but voiced his frustration with Apple's lack of detailed information on the issues being fixed.

"Wouldn't it be awesome if Apple did something useful like provide a severity rating for its updates? I'm not seeing any chatter about the reliability of these vulnerabilities. It's true that ‘arbitrary code execution' is never a good thing - but it might not work enough of the time to be worth an attacker's effort - or then, perhaps it is," he said.

"Unfortunately, Apple doesn't help with a severity rating - relying as it has always done on security through obscurity. There's no information via our sources of it being used already."

Despite the lack of activity, the US Computer Emergency Response Team has issued an advisory calling for IT managers to install the fix sooner rather than later.

"Users and administrators are encouraged to review Apple security update HT6367 and apply the necessary updates," read the advisory.

Attacks targeting web browser vulnerabilities are a growing problem for businesses of all sizes. Microsoft issued a critical fix plugging 26 vulnerabilities that were leaving Internet Explorer users open to attack by hackers, as a part of its latest Patch Tuesday update earlier this week.

The IE flaws were particularly dangerous as Microsoft had reported finding evidence that some of them were being exploited by hackers.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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