Apple Updates iOS, Mac OS X, Safari to Fix Pwn2Own Bugs, Comodo Certificates

Apple dumped four separate updates to patch a slew of security holes, ranging from WebKit vulnerabilities discovered at Pwn2Own and the SSL certificates issue for iOS, Safari and Mac OS X.

Verizon iPhone customers finally get some patching love from Apple as the company dropped updates for all iOS devices, Safari and MacOS X-addressing several Pwn2Own bugs and the Comodo breach.

Apple announced new iOS updates for all its mobile devices, updated the digital certificates policy on the Mac OS X, patched WebKit issues in its Safari Web browser and released the Xcode tool for developers on April 13. The last minor update, iOS 4.3.1, was on March 22.

The iOS 4.3.2 is available for GSM iPhones, third- and fourth-generation iPod Touches, original iPad and iPad2. A separate update, iOS 4.2.7, applies only for the CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) iPhone available through Verizon. The fixes in iOS 4.2.7 are equivalent to the ones in iOS 4.3.2 for the GSM devices.

Only CDMA iPhone owners will see the iOS 4.2.7 update in iTunes.

Several security holes were fixed in iOS 4.3.2/4.2.7, including several that had been identified during the CanSecWest Pwn2Own hacking contest in early March. The MobileSafari vulnerability, identified by Charlie Miller and Dion Blazakis under HP TippingPoint's Zero-Day Initiative, caused an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution when viewing a malicious Microsoft Office file.

Apple also fixed two additional WebKit vulnerabilities identified under the Zero-Day Initiative, which also resulted in unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution when the user visited a malicious Website. The Webkit flaws were discovered by Vupen Security and by members of TeamAnon, Vincenzo Iozzo, Willem Pinckaers, Ralf-Phillipp Weinmann and "an anonymous researcher." TeamAnon's WebKit bug had been used to compromise RIM's BlackBerry at the hacking contest and Vupen's bug cracked Safari on Mac OS X.

The WebKit vulnerabilities were also fixed as part of Safari 5.0.5, also available.

Apple also fixed a flaw in libxslt that could be exploited by a malicious Website. This flaw was identified by a member of the Google Chrome team.

Apple fixed the screen-freezing issue that was occurring for users during Facetime chats and the bug that prevented iPads from connecting to international 3G networks in 4.3.2. It is unclear whether the battery-life issues experienced by users who upgraded to 4.3 have been fixed in this release.

Apple referenced its Certificates Trust Policy in all of the updates. In light of the recent Comodo incident where nine fraudulent SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates were mistakenly issued by a Comodo partner for several popular Websites, Apple noted that attackers could have performed man-in-the-middle attacks to redirect connections and to intercept sensitive user data.

Comodo invalidated the certificates immediately and major browser makers pushed out updates to ensure the invalid certificates were blocked.

Apple has finally addressed the issue for Safari on Mac OS X with Security Update 2011-002 for Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard) and 10.6.7 (Snow Leopard). On Windows, Safari relies on the host operating system's certificate store to determine the validity of a digital certificate so users should follow the instructions provided by Microsoft, Apple said in the advisory.

The iOS 4.3.2 addressed the SSL certificates issue for mobile devices, according to the advisory.