Apple patches AirPort wireless bug

Apple has patched a critical vulnerability in certain versions of its AirPort wireless cards

Apple Computer has fixed a number of flaws in the software that ships with its personal computers, including a bug in its AirPort wireless drivers that was disclosed earlier this month.

The AirPort flaw was disclosed on Nov. 1 by security researcher HD Moore. It affects Proxim Wireless Orinoco wireless cards used by PowerBook and iMac computers built between 1999 and 2003, he said.

These cards, which were branded AirPort by Apple, shipped with eMac, iBook, iMac, PowerBook G3, PowerBook G4 and Power Mac G4 systems, Apple said in a note on the updates, posted Tuesday.

The issue does not affect systems that use the AirPort Extreme cards, Apple said.

Apple warned that this flaw could be used by an attacker to run unauthorized software on a victim's computer, but Moore's exploit code could only be used to cause a computer to crash, the security researcher said.

Security researchers have been paying a lot of attention to wireless device drivers since August, when researchers David Maynor and Jon Ellch reported that they'd discovered a number of significant flaws in wireless drivers, including one that affected Apple's computers.

Maynor and Ellch were later criticized because they demonstrated these flaws using a third-party wireless card rather than the one that ships with Apple's MacBook, and because the two hackers have not published the code used in their attack.

Nevertheless, Apple patched a number of vulnerabilities in its wireless drivers last September, saying that these were discovered in an internal audit of the company's software.

Apple's Tuesday update also fixes several issues in products that ship with OS X, including flaws in the ClamAV antivirus software, Perl, PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) and Samba.

In total, 22 patches were released in this update, named 2007-007 by Apple.

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Robert McMillan

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