September 26, 2008, 11:33 AM — Apple patched nearly 30 Java vulnerabilities in Mac OS X Wednesday, months after Sun Microsystems Inc., Java's developer, fixed most of the same flaws for other operating systems.
The separate updates for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) patched 27 and 23 bugs, respectively. Two of the vulnerabilities in Leopard, only one of which was also present in Tiger, are specific to the Mac OS, and could be used by attackers to execute malicious code. Both of these critical bugs could be triggered by specially-crafted Java applets if the user was tricked into visiting a malicious Web site, Apple noted.
The bulk of the vulnerabilities, however, were not Mac-specific, and had been patched by Sun for Windows, Linux and Solaris as far back as March 2008. Unlike its OS rivals, Apple maintains its own version of Java and so is responsible for handling updates for machines running OS X.
Apple has been criticized for its sluggish patching of third-party components, particularly open-source code, that it bundles with Mac OS. More than a year ago, Charles Miller, a researcher with Independent Security Evaluators, called Apple's inability to keep up with open-source fixes "negligent."
Wednesday's update brings Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_07, J2SE 5.0 to version 1.5.0_16, and J2SE 1.4.2 to 1.4.2_18. All are the most current versions available from Sun, which last patched Java for Windows, Linux and Solaris in July.