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Tuesday, 23 December 2014 12:01

Apple fixes NTP in time for Christmas

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Apple has issued a fix for vulnerabilities in OS X's handling of the Network Time Protocol.

Acting on information provided by the Google Security Team, Apple has released a security update for the OS X ntpd (Network Time Protocol daemon).

The update addresses "several issues" that allowed attackers to trigger buffer overflows in order to execute buffer overflows.

OS X NTP Security Update applies to Yosemite, Mavericks and Mountain Lion, and can be installed via the Mac App Store.

Since Apple's de facto policy is to only provide security updates for the current and two previous versions of the Mac's operating system, it is not clear whether the vulnerabilities are present in Lion or Snow Leopard. The latter is still being used by some Mac owners as it was the last version of OS X to support PowerPC applications.

According to CERT, the vulnerabilities are found in "ntpd version 4.2.7 and previous versions" so it would seem wise to assume all versions of OS X are affected.

At this stage it is not known what measures should be taken by users of Lion and earlier versions. Deactivating the "Set date and time automatically" option in the Date & Time preference appears to stop ntpd, but there may be situations where not having an accurately-set clock causes problems.

It is possible that someone will release a build of ntp.org's ntpd 4.2.8 that can be easily installed - but how will you know whether you can trust their work?


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Now’s the Time for 400G Migration

The optical fibre community is anxiously awaiting the benefits that 400G capacity per wavelength will bring to existing and future fibre optic networks.

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Initial challenges are associated with supporting such project and upgrades to fulfil the promise of higher-capacity transport.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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