Apple Patches Older Version Of Leopard OS

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Just a week after the release of its ‘Snow Leopard’ OS, Apple has patched its predecessor to plug a security gap caused by an outdated Java version

Only days after the launch of its new operating system (OS), “Snow Leopard,” computer maker Apple is alerting users to a Java security patch for its older, “Leopard” OS X.

The vendor explained last week on its security update website that the version of Java installed with the Leopard OS “may allow an untrusted Java applet to obtain elevated privileges”.

The Apple patch updates Leopard to Java versions 1.6.0_15, 1.5.0_20 and 1.4.2_22. In the update, Apple cautioned: “Visiting a web page containing a maliciously crafted untrusted Java applet may lead to arbitrary code execution with the privileges of the current user. A stack buffer overflow exists in [the] Java Web Start command launcher. Launching a maliciously crafted Java Web Start application may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.”

Apple, which normally waits roughly six months before issuing a round of security patches, has not released any other patches so far. Although it is dealing with a bug caused by the elimination of support for Apple Talk, which has caused the OS to cease connecting to older Ethernet-networked printers, according to Apple blog Macworld.

However, late last Friday the blog revealed that accessing Print & Fax System Preferences can reconnect the computer. In addition, there have been reports of DVD playback stopping unexpectedly and problems regarding automatic account setup in Mail.

Snow Leopard, announced by Apple chief executive, Steve Jobs at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2008, shipped at the end of August 2009.

It is being sold as an upgrade for Intel-based Macs running Leopard at $29 (or £25 in the UK) for a single-user licence and $49 (£39) for the Family Pack. For a qualifying computer bought after 8 June, the upgrade price is $9.95. Apple rewrote the Finder in 64-bit Cocoa to take advantage of other new process improvements in Snow Leopard, which include “faster startup, shutdown, installation, Time Machine backup and connection establishment,” a “smaller OS footprint on disk, freeing 7GB or more” and faster JPG and PDF file format refreshes, according to the vendor.

Despite a low price that should encourage consumers to upgrade, pundits’ predictions that this release will bolster Apple’s position in the enterprise may be premature.

“Apple has increased its market share notably over the past couple years, and partially that’s due to how miserably Microsoft has done with [Windows] Vista,” Pund-IT Research’s Charles King told eWEEK. “But they’re still in the high single- or low double-digits compared to Microsoft. When Windows 7 comes out, I think it’ll be harder for Apple to differentiate its platform.”

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