Extremely critical security flaw may affect Macs

Apple recently patched a critical vulnerability in iOS, the operating system that runs all iPhones. Now it appears that the same flaw may affect all Macs running OS X as well. So far there is no official confirmation from Apple, but security experts are warning Mac users to avoid using public networks until we know more.

Update 2014Feb24: Apple released a patch for iOS that fixes this flaw on iPhones. Meanwhile, it looks like the flaw does affect Macs (OS X). A security researcher at ImperialViolet has created a proof-of-concept test page (no longer functional). Steer your Mac web browser to that page; if you get an error message, your browser is not affected by the flaw. Vulnerable Mac browsers will see a message to that effect. Tests on my own Mac show Safari as vulnerable, while Firefox is not.

Update 2014Feb25: TechDirt has an amusing article on the surprising lack of information coming from Apple. There’s a general sense of dissatisfaction with Apple, and increasing clamour for information – any information – on how this issue affects Macs.

Update 2014Feb26: Apple has released an update for OS X that addresses this issue. OS X 10.9.2 includes several other security fixes and bug fixes.

About jrivett

Jeff Rivett has worked with and written about computers since the early 1980s. His first computer was an Apple II+, built by his father and heavily customized. Jeff's writing appeared in Computist Magazine in the 1980s, and he created and sold a game utility (Ultimaker 2, reviewed in the December 1983 Washington Apple Pi Journal) to international markets during the same period. Proceeds from writing, software sales, and contract programming gigs paid his way through university, earning him a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) degree at UWO. Jeff went on to work as a programmer, sysadmin, and manager in various industries. There's more on the About page, and on the Jeff Rivett Consulting site.

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