Apple's first security patches of 2008 fix iPhone, QuickTime

Apple has released its first security updates of 2008, fixing flaws in QuickTime, the iPhone and iPod touch.

Apple has released its first security updates of the new year, fixing bugs in its QuickTime media player and iPhone and iPod touch devices.

As with previous updates, the iPhone 1.1.3 software patch sent those who had installed the unauthorized Jailbreak software -- used to run third-party applications on the iPhone -- scrambling to get their phones up and running. That's because Apple's updates have so far always rendered Jailbreak unusable, forcing users to go through a complex re-installation process.

According to the Unofficial Apple Weblog, it is possible to run third-party software following this latest update, but the process is complex. A simpler Jailbreak 1.1.3 script is expected to be posted eventually at the iPhone Wiki, which is the hub of much iPhone hacking.

The iPhone update fixes two flaws in the Safari browser, including a critical bug that could be exploited to run unauthorized software on the device. A third bug could let an unauthorized user bypass Passcode Lock and launch iPhone applications. The iPod touch is susceptible to the Safari bugs, Apple said.

These updates will be rolled out to customers over the next week via the devices' iTunes update mechanism.

The QuickTime 7.4 update fixes four critical flaws in the software that could be exploited by attackers to crash the media player or even run unauthorized software on a victim's computer. The update is available for both the Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.

However, the software does not fix a serious flaw in the player that was disclosed over the weekend.

Security experts are particularly concerned over this flaw because attack code showing how it can be exploited has also been published. Apple is still working to fix the vulnerability, which has to do with QuickTime's use of the Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP).

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Robert McMillan

IDG News Service

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