May 1, 2007 2:08 PM PDT

Apple plugs QuickTime zero-day flaw

Apple on Tuesday released a QuickTime update to fix a security flaw that was used to breach a MacBook Pro at a recent security conference.

The media player vulnerability lies in QuickTime for Java, Apple said in a security alert. The hole could be exploited through a rigged Web site and let an attacker commandeer computers running both Mac OS X and Windows, the Mac maker said.

"By enticing a user to visit a Web page containing a maliciously crafted Java applet, an attacker can trigger the issue, which may lead to arbitrary code execution," Apple said. Only computers running an unfixed version of QuickTime would be at risk.

Security monitoring company Secunia deems the flaw "highly critical," one notch below its most serious rating. The update, QuickTime 7.1.6, repairs the problem by performing additional checking. Apple credits bug hunter Dino Dai Zovi and the TippingPoint Zero Day Initiative for reporting the issue.

Apple's fix comes just over a week after the vulnerability was used to grab a $10,000 prize and a MacBook Pro in a hack-a-Mac contest at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Security researcher Shane Macaulay worked with Dai Zovi to break into the Mac and took home the computer. Dai Zovi subsequently submitted the bug to TippingPoint, which sweetened the competition by offering a $10,000 bounty through its Zero Day Initiative program.

Apple on Tuesday also put out an updated version of a security update originally released last month. Version 1.1 of the 2007-004 patch repairs a couple of problems with the original fix, which may cause wireless connections to drop and allow limited FTP users access beyond their privileges on an Apple FTPServer, Apple said in another alert.

Apple's security updates are available through the Software Update application in its operating system and QuickTime software and from the Apple Web site.

See more CNET content tagged:
Apple QuickTime, TippingPoint Technologies, Apple Computer, Apple MacBook Pro, Apple MacBook

22 comments

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Hey Vegaman, where's the AV definition?
It's patched, and even if there were a definition for AV software, it
wouldn't have been useful for very long.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hey everybody, look how quickly...
Look how quickly Apple gets their patches and fixes out! I've seen no one but Apple, Sun, Unix, and Linux act this quickly to patch discovered flaws. In our Windows world, unless the Highly Critical flaw is exploited, M$ usually waits until patch Tuesday!
More proof that Apple cares more about their customers.
Posted by Jon N. (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft's security practice is better
At least Microsoft promptly fixes the low-profile security flaws within a month. The only reason why this Quicktime problem was fixed so quickly is because it was reported on in the media. Lower profile security flaws, like the one that sends e-mail passwords in cleartext, can take four months for Apple to merely release the existing patch!

But I'll agree that Apple and Microsoft need to start taking a leaf from the open-source Unix and Linux worlds.
Posted by 3rdalbum (287 comments )
Link Flag
Lol
Wow, it took apple almost 9 days to fix a bug that was never successfully exploited in real-world conditions. Its almost like they care about the well-being of their customers. I wonder how microsucks is doing on its over 50 unpatched bugs compared to apples about 6. Hmmm...
Posted by bobmarksdale (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
so...
what's the deal.

A contest to hack a Mac.
1st day.. no winners. They make it easier...
Next day.. the only way to "hack" the Mac is to use an obscure
flaw in an application.. for both windows and Macs...
The Mac OS is still virgin... even after a $10,000 open contest..

To rub it in your face more.. Apple fixed this before it was
exploited..

what are you are going to say about Mac OS security now..
biaaaaches...
Posted by Jesus#2 (127 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Patch deployment time comparisons
Yes, Apple can get a patch out quicker than MS. But why?

Does Apple care more about its users? Are Apple developers more talented than MS developers? Is Apple software easier to fix than Windows software?

We can argue for days about the answers to questions like this but no answer will expose the real reason. It is actually pretty simple IMO.

Any developer worth thier salt should be able to fix a security hole that is pointed out to them fairly quickly regardless of what company they work for. So we can agree that the patch deployment time is not affected to a great extent by the developement of a fix.

Most of the time spent in patching software is testing the patch. Microsoft clearly has a dis-advantage here because of the sheer number of deployments and configurations that must be considered. If you use Big-O notation as an anology, testing Mac software is O(N) while Windows is O(e^N). This is not an excuse for MS patch times, it is a reality of being widely deployed. Put another way, if Apple botches the Quicktime fix, it will affect many less users than if Microsoft botches an Office fix.

So you could interpret the time Microsoft spends testing patches as showing even more concern for thier customers than Apple by performing the due diligence of ensuring that the fix does not adversely affect a large number of customers rather than rushing it out just to look good in the media.
Posted by NewsReader_ (280 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The number of configurations
difference is due to the licensing difference. If you're right, then
Apple's choice is the better way to go. Both choices end up with
multipurpose computers, but Macs have fewer unnecessary
variations, more compatibility, and much better security.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
Doesn't apply in this particular case....
Normally, I'd agree with you, but because this particular patch fixes an exploit that effects both OS X and Windows, the number of deployments theoretically approaches the maximum for both platforms; though, in practical terms, not every Windows machine has Quicktime installed -- most that access the internet on a daily basis probably do, and most that have Office installed probably do, as well. So, that's a much larger number that this patch effects than would be normally. Probably as many effected with this patch as is effected by a typical media software patch from Microsoft.
Posted by reagan0 (27 comments )
Link Flag
except that MS sits on fixes
As been demonstrated with the known zero day ones that MS sat
on for several months.
Posted by weegg (849 comments )
Link Flag
Someone
should correlate the ever increasing number of Mac OS bugs, with the rise in Apples market share and how much they spend on advertising. I bet that would be somewhat interesting. More interesting than those lame commercials that I see every where.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dunno if that would mean anything
Bugs vs advertising dollars? I don't know what that would teach us. After all, Microsoft spends a ton more on advertising than Apple.

The difference is, most people don't pay any attention to the MS ads.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
Ironically, first time QT for Java updated since...
The exploit was apparently made through the QuickTime Java
interface.

Which is ironic, because I don't think that code has been
updated since security was invented.

At least Apple responded to their developers: the developers
ignored it so so did they!

QuickTime: great APIs, but just didn't mix with Java.
Posted by dotmike (154 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And yet, NO $10,000 PAYOUT
Lie all you want, c|net. You've refused to put your money where
your big, fat mouth is. You haven't paid for any OS X hack, have
you?

And paying Zovi to make the laughable comment that Vista is safer
than OS X doesn't count.
Posted by qprize (237 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista is trash
Vista = piece of crap.
Posted by RompStar_420 (772 comments )
Link Flag
DON'T INSTALL
Those of you looking at this prior to installing the update, don't
touch it. There have been a number of us with problems since
upgrading. This is one of the rare times I wish I was like
windblows and could "'deinstall" it and go back to the prior
version.

I use a video in device (cableTV box, USB IN) and it no longer lets
the video stream live. Even recording can be iffy. Others have
reported video editing problems.

As long as your system is secure and not threatened, hold out
until you NEED to fix the problem, or if you had operating
problems with QT then upgrade. Otherwise, WAIT!!!
Posted by Travis Ernst (170 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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