Apple's patch process a mess, say researchers

Constant updating shows Mac OS X isn't ready for the enterprise

Another researcher, Swa Frantzen of the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center, however, disagreed with Storms and Miller. Frantzen argued that it was, no pun intended, an apples-and-oranges comparison to pit Apple's patching procedure against Microsoft's.

"If Apple should be compared with other vendors, take the other Unix vendors," Frantzen urged. "Sun, HP, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, the different Linux distributions -- very few of them group together patches in a monthly cycle."

In fact, argued Frantzen, Apple's process of patching when the patch is ready reduces the window of vulnerability for users. "[Microsoft's] monthly cycle adds an average of half a month of unnecessary vulnerability while the patch is fully finished and not being offered to customers," said Frantzen said. "It's like Ford would know your Explorer will have trouble and has a solution to prevent your tire from blowing up, but decides for the ease of the dealers not to tell you or give you the solution for another few weeks."

"I think Apple is actually in a tough spot," offered Miller, who blamed Apple's patching problem on its having to maintain aging code and the company's late start in following Microsoft's lead in applying secure code development practices. "They are so far behind on that," Miller said. "They're doing things, but even on some of the basic stuff, they're lagging behind Microsoft."

If Miller had his way, Apple would invest in a Microsoft-like secure code process -- which its Redmond, Wash., rival calls its "Security Development Lifecycle" -- to make its operating system more competitive in the enterprise. "I think they should do that, but I doubt they will be forced to do that," Miller said.

"Anyway, who am I to tell them what to do? Even if I'm right."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags security patch

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?