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Risk

2/7/2008
09:39 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Enough With The Patches Already!

I'm growing increasingly grateful for those quiet days when I can actually use my computer systems, for work or fun, rather than have to patch them. Is it really too much to ask?

I'm growing increasingly grateful for those quiet days when I can actually use my computer systems, for work or fun, rather than have to patch them. Is it really too much to ask?This week Apple patched security troubles within its QuickTime media player and digital image management application, iPhoto, while Adobe filled a gaping security hole in its ubiquitous Acrobat Reader.

On Tuesday, Apple users found that their systems would be vulnerable to attack through a vulnerability in iPhoto that could enable an attacker to run malicious software on their system if they subscribed to a photocast broadcast by an evildoer.

That patch was followed up the very next day with a patch for its QuickTime player (which fixed a heap buffer overflow error) that affects its Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X versions.

Note to developers: Please check your input strings.

Note to Apple: Please release these patches on the same day, so your customers can roll these updates together.

For those of you who laud Apple's software as being more secure than the rest, consider this nugget of reality I culled from a recent story by Thomas Claburn:

From the release of QuickTime 7.1.3 in January 2007 through the release of QuickTime 7.3.1 in December of that year, Apple fixed 34 different QuickTime vulnerabilities. In 2006, Apple fixed 28 QuickTime holes. So far this year, Apple has made five specific QuickTime repairs.

So, for 2007, Apple had to issue nearly three fixes a month for QuickTime alone.

Speaking of monthly fixes, get ready for a bevy of patches from Redmond next Tuesday. For this month, Microsoft is planning to release no less than 12 security patches. Five of these patches are labeled as "Critical." And according to its advance notification bulletin, each of these patches fill security holes that enable systems to be attacked over the Internet.

With it only being the first week of February, it looks like 2008 is going to be a long year of endless updates and security-related reboots.

Anyone else have enough of this?

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