May 15, 2012

Leopard Users Finally Get Some Love From The Mothership

Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com

Are you worried about contracting a certain malware infection on your Mac which has been making headlines for the past month or two? Are you unable or unwilling to upgrade your system to Lion or even the older Snow Leopard? Apple now has you covered, as they have released a software update to protect those users running OS X 10.5, or Leopard from the recent rash of malware attacks and threats. The company has also released a version of their Flashback removal tool for Leopard users. These new tools and updates come weeks after Apple released them for Snow Leopard and Lion users, showing that they may not have forgotten those users, but also hinting rather strongly that they´d rather have these users upgrade. After all, Apple, like any other company, prefers their users to be using the latest hardware and software options available.

Just as in the Lion and Snow Leopard variants, the Flashback Security Update and Removal Tool will run automatically in the background. If any of this malware is found, the tool will automatically remove it from your machine. According to TidBITS, the security update will also automatically turn off the Java plug-in for Safari, thereby preventing any unintentional use of Java in the web browser. Should you want to access a site which utilizes Java, Safari will provide you with an option to turn it back on.

As these malware attacks target a Java vulnerability, the option to completely disable the plug-in is the safest way to protect your computer against the Flashback Trojan and others of its ilk.

The new Leopard Security Update also resembles the recent 10.7 and 10.6 security updates in that in disables older versions of the Adobe Flash Player. These disabled versions of Flash were found to be unable to update themselves to the latest versions. Should you want to use Flash and your version doesn´t comply with the new Leopard upgrade, you will be redirected to the Adobe website in order to download the latest version of the flash player.

Getting the updates are as easy as getting any other updates, and both versions should automatically appear in the Software Update app. Those anxious Leopard users can also download these updates via Apple´s support site.

So far, it seems as if security specialists are pleased with this roll out of Apple upgrades.

“This additional level of protection when it comes to Safari users running Flash is good to see – as Adobe´s software is so frequently exploited by malware authors and malicious hackers to infect web surfers,” said Graham Cluley, senior consultant at security firm Sophos, according to the BBC.

“It´s encouraging to see Apple has not left users of this older version of the Mac OS X operating system completely out in the cold when it comes to protecting against the latest threats. Clearly they realize that it´s not good for the Apple Mac´s image if older computers connected to the internet are harboring malware,” said Mr Cluley.

Now, Apple has covered users of Lion, Snow Leopard and Leopard, but what of those users still running 10.4, or Tiger?

These users are recommended to update their systems if they can, as soon as they can.

Says Mr. Cluley, “Of course, there are still users of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger out there – they don´t have the benefit of these security updates and are effectively playing a dangerous game with their systems as the malware threat on the Mac platform increases.”


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