Important Updates For Mac and Windows

This week brings many important OS updates for the Mac and a critical update for IE.

A hacking contest last week may be partly to blame for a large number of security updates. This time, it’s not just Microsoft products that are needing a fix. In fact, all but one browser was demonstrated to have security problems. Are you using the only safe one? Or, are you risking it all with a browser that needs to be updated now?

To start off, Apple has a number of security updates for it’s OS X operating system (if you have a Mac that means you).

Actually, there are quite a few updates for the Mac OS X. There is also an update for the Safari browser on Mac. This is a new set of updates from the ones that were fixed for Windows Safari last week. I’ve not seen if there are new updates for Windows Safari. You can check http://www.apple.com/support.

The iPhone was hacked last week also.

While there has been a problem with “jailbroken” iPhones in the past, this is a new vulnerability for the iPhone Safari browser. The person demonstating the vulnerability was able to retrieve all the SMS messages on the phone. All includes SMS messages deleted and no longer even available to the user. Watch for an update if you own an iPhone.

Microsoft release an out of band update for Internet Explorer 6 and IE7.

This was released Tuesday. This update is so important that Microsoft released it out of band, meaning before the normal monthly scheduled patches. Make sure all your computers are updated by checking Microsoft Update from your start menu.

What is this hacking contest I mentioned?

This is actually a more or less whitehat (good guy) event. The event is called pwn2own. Hackers showing new exploits win prizes for demonstrating new security flaws. This year a record was made hacking Safari on a Macbook running Snow Leopard for by a contestant wining for a third year in a row. IE 8 on Windows 7 was also beaten. In fact, every browser but one was hacked on the first day. Over $100000 in prizes was offered.

Only Google Chrome remained secure.

Image representing Google Chrome as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase

In fact, no one even tried during the contest. Google Chrome runs every tab in a sandbox. What this means is that what happens in the browser only can happen in one part and can’t get out to affect other programs or the operating system. This makes it very difficult to hack and why I recommend it as the browser you use for most of your web use.

Sorry to release this post on April 1st.

This is no April Fool joke though. These are important updates if you wish to keep your computer safe.

Do you know someone who has lost all their digital photos because their hard drive failed? Who do you know has had problems with a computer virus? Know anyone that just needs to learn a bit more about using their computer? Send them to this site and tell them about the newsletter, because you’ll be doing them a big favor. Next time something happens, they may know what to do to save them some heartache.

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