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Apple patches 22 security holes in Mac OS X

A new security update released by Apple Computer on Tuesday patches several exploits recently discovered in its Mac OS X operating system, including one widely publicized issue with its disk image software.

Of the twenty two vulnerabilities fixed by the updated—which is labeled Security Update 2006-007 —twelve are related to flaws that could lead to arbitrary code execution.

For example, the update addresses an issue where a heap buffer overflow may be triggered when the Mac OS X Finder is used to browse a directory containing a corrupt ".DS_Store" file. The system file may be included in archives, on disk images, and on network file systems.

"By enticing a user to browse a directory containing a maliciously-crafted ".DS_Store" file, an attacker may be able to trigger the overflow," Apple explained. "This could lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution with the privileges of the user running Finder."

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said the security update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of ".DS_Store" files.

Another flaw addressed by the update relates to a glitch in VPC that could allow malicious local users to gain system privileges.

"Under certain circumstances, the VPN server may execute commands without properly cleaning the environment," Apple said. "This may allow a malicious local user to create files or execute commands with system privileges."

Also covered by Tuesday's release are vulnerabilities affecting AirPort, ATS, FontBook, Font Importer, Installer, OpenSSL, PHP, PPP, Samba, Security Framework, WebKit, gnuzip and perl.

The update is available Mac OS X 10.4.8 Client Intel (23MB), Mac OS X 10.4.8 Client PowerPC (11MB), Mac OS X 10.4.8 Server PowerPC (12MB) Mac OS X 10.4.8 Server Universal (25MB), Mac OS X 10.3.9 Client (33MB) and Mac OS X 10.3.9 Server (46MB).