Apple Updates Snow Leopard, Fixes Flash Player Bug


The Snow Leopard update, which upgrades the Mac OS X operating system to version 10.6.1, is the first since its launch Aug. 28. While Apple's Snow Leopard touted enhanced security features, the new Mac operating system initially came equipped with an older version of the Adobe Flash plug-in prone to security issues. Apple's security update upgraded the Adobe Flash Player plug-in to version, Adobe's most current release.

If exploited, hackers could use the Flash Player vulnerability to execute malicious code designed to take control of a user's computer, typically via an infected Flash media file.

Security experts contend that the Flash Player patch was probably the most significant in the update.

"Apple took a big hit recently when releasing its brand-new operating system," said Andrew Storms, director of security for the security and compliance auditing firm, nCircle, in an e-mail. "Apple appeared to have downgraded the Flash player, leaving users vulnerable to security bugs. We have to be thankful that the Flash update was included in the 10.6.1 update today."

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Storms said that the Adobe Flash vulnerabilities in Snow Leopard highlighted the need for Apple to find a way to resolve security issues between third-party applications and its operating system.

"It would do Apple some good to figure out how to optimize the bundling of third-party applications and create some space between third-party apps and the Apple OS," he said. "Unfortunately for Apple, they need to create an entirely new point release for their operating system in order to push out a patch to a third-party product."

In addition, the Snow Leopard update addressed compatibility issues with some Sierra Wireless 3G modems and repaired other compatibility issues in which printer drivers might not appear properly in the Add Printer browser.

The Apple update also addressed some mail issues, including glitches in auto account setup in Mail that prevent it from functioning properly, while resolving other issues when users send mail with certain SMTP servers.

In addition, the update included an issue causing the DVD playback function to quit unexpectedly, addressed an issue in Motion 4 that caused it to be unresponsive, and resolved an issue in the Command-Option-T keyboard shortcut that would erroneously bring up the special characters menu in applications such as Mail and TextEdit.