Apple Automatically Updating Macs To Protect Against Vulnerability
So it looks like all we get to hear of these days is security breaches, hacking and vulnerable systems. After the whole Sony episode unfold before our eyes, it apparently looks like every company is now taking actions to strengthen up any guards they have been letting slack.
Apple is one in that line, rolling out updates – in face, ‘pushing’ them towards Macs – without asking for the users’ permission. Before you set out to sue the company for forcing their updates, this step is being taken behind your back to guard against hackers taking control of your device.
What led the company to take such fluid steps was a newly discovered vulnerability, CVE-2014-9295, in the component of OS X systems called the network time protocol (NTP), which is used for synchronizing clocks on computer systems. This could allow hackers to remotely control the system.
The bugs were made public in security bulletins last week by the Department of Homeland Security and the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute. The Institute mentioned several companies in danger due to this issue, one of the companies being Apple.
“Apple’s proactive steps to automatically remediate this particular vulnerability shows the need to quickly patch remotely exploitable vulnerabilities,” says security analyst Ken Westin of Tripwire.
“However, the use of Apple’s automatic deployment tool is not without risks, as even the simplest update can cause problems for some systems. In this case the update may have been so minor the risk of affecting other applications and processes was minimal.”
Previously, like all other system updates, Apple’s security updates required the permission and interaction of the user to get the update rolling. The company had built a method to automatically update computers since two years but is only now using it for the first time, that too to protect the users as soon as possible.
“The update is seamless,” Apple’s spokesperson, Bill Evans said. “It doesn’t even require a restart.”
So far, Apple has not heard of any Mac device being targeted by hackers to exploit the system.
However, in case anyone is not comfortable with the automatic update, or may have a system prone to problems after automatic updates, you can disable it by going to the Apple Menu > System Preferences > App Store and unchecking Install system data files and security updates.