FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Apple yesterday patched 36 vulnerabilities in Mac OS X, most of them critical, plugging a hole that revealed passwords used to encrypt folders with an older version of FileVault.
High on the fix list was one specific to Lion that put FileVault passwords in plain text, where they could easily be read — and thus encrypted folders deciphered — if a Mac was stolen or lost. The software consultant who publicly reported the bug attributed it to a programming error on Apple’s part.
Among the other patches were four Snow Leopard-only fixes quashing bugs that could be exploited via malicious image files; another four in QuickTime, Apple’s media player and browser plug-in; and one in FileVault 2, the full-disk encryption technology used by Lion.
The FileVault 2 flaw caused some date to be left unencrypted when a Mac went into “sleep” mode.
Twenty-one of the 36 vulnerabilities were tagged with Apple’s phrase of “arbitrary code execution,” indicating that they were critical flaws that, if exploited by attackers, could result in a Mac malware infection.
Eight of the bugs affected only Snow Leopard.
On Lion, Apple also included a number of non-security fixes it categorized as stability and compatibility improvements. Many of them were related to connecting to network services, such as Microsoft’s Active Directory and that company’s Server Message Block (SMB) file-sharing protocol. Both are used by Macs in enterprises to access corporate resources held on servers running Windows.
Snow Leopard’s update, dubbed “Security Update 201-002,” received no feature improvements.
Last year, OS X 10.5, or Leopard, received its final security update in late June, about a month before Apple launched Lion. Leopard’s versions of iTunes, QuickTime and Java, however, were updated after June 2011.
As usual, some users reported problems with the update.
No one problem was dominant in those reports, but the MacBook Pro-not-booting thread was heavily trafficked, with more than 1,500 views since its inception Wednesday afternoon.
Mac OS X 10.7.4 and the separate 2012-002 security update for Snow Leopard can be downloaded from Apple’s support site or installed using the operating system’s built-in update service.