Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Sat 29 May 2004

OS X security loophole - Fix, updates

Category : mac and the internet

[Update No. 6 - 10.3.4 combined updater; "telnet" and "ssh" possibly handled].

If this harmless link reveals the time, a security loophole from a URL reference by your browser, is able to call up the Help Viewer and potentially run a programme. Even on terminal! So fix it!

[1] Install 10.3.4 - it includes two security updates by Apple, but you must run the combined update.

Now try the harmless link. It will no longer work.

But there is more; try this Malware test. You are still vulnerable so carry on with steps 2-4.

[2] John Gruber's Daring Fireball recommends using Rubicode's RCDefaultApp, which he explains is more effective than Misfox (and presumably IE5).

After you download Default App, 1. Double click the icon. 2. Install in all users. 3. Enter your admin password. 4. System Preferences launches, Default Apps opens. 5. Click the "URLs" tab. 6. Set "disk", "disks", "afp", "ssh" and "telnet" to "disabled" (In 10.3.4, no worries about "help" and some say telnet or ssh). Or choose an app like Chess if you want to know when you struck a mine!

[3] Still within Default App, set "ftp" to "disabled" or to an ftp app like Interarchy, Fetch or Transmit.

[4] Turn off "open safe files" option in Safari. Go to preferences in Safari, and unselect the "open safe files after downloading" option.

These steps were proof against Unsanity's Jason Harris' Malware test. Freaked by his test results, he created Paranoid Android. I tried it out and between this haxie, APE (which it needs to work) and FruitMenu (another haxie by Unsanity), my iBook (G3 600MHz 640MB RAM) froze up. It's not the first time. Eventually I used another mac to delete the culprit files. Else, I'd still be staring at a blue screen.

This appears to be enough to sidestep the issue, but expect more - until Apple resolves it all. The MacNN forum is still discussing this. I will keep tabs and update this post.

Original sources: MacNN forums, Liz Lawley (Mama Musings) and Jay Allen (the Daily Journey).

Posted at 4:54AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .