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Perimeter

Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
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11/16/2010
06:22 AM
Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
Security Insights
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Mac OS X 10.6.5: 100+ Good Security Reasons To Upgrade, But Tread Carefully

Update includes important security fixes

Apple's latest update to its Mac OS X operating system not only improves performance and stability, it also contains more than 130 new security fixes. But don't be too hasty in installing it.

Enhancements in the new Mac OS X 10.6.5 include improved Microsoft Exchange reliability and a variety of performance and stability improvements. But what's probably most interesting to Dark Reading readers is that the update also includes important security fixes.

Well over 100 different vulnerabilities are reportedly patched by Mac OS X 10.6.5 -- with fixes for everything from Apache to the Flash Player plug-in from Image Capture to MySQL. You can read all the gory details in Apple's knowledgebase article.

If you leave your Mac unpatched, then malicious hackers could exploit the vulnerabilities to run unauthorized code, opening your network to the potential of being spied on, having information stolen, or cybercriminals commandeering your computers into becoming part of a botnet.

Ouch!

So that sounds like a good reason to install the update immediately, right? Wrong.

As with any operating system update, you should tread carefully, making sure you backup all your critical data before upgrading your computers.

One group who need to specially cautious this time around are users of PGP Whole Disk Encryption who found their Macs were no longer able to boot after installing the operating system update.

Fortunately PGP has published a fix that recovers broken systems, but you can imagine some people's hearts stopping when their computers failed to boot up.

Yes, operating system updates that include security fixes are important -- but make sure you always have a back-up plan in case things go awry.

Graham Cluley is senior technology consultant at Sophos, and has been working in the computer security field since the early 1990s. When he's not writing for the award-winning Naked Security site for Sophos, you can find him on Twitter at @gcluley. Special to Dark Reading.

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