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Bug in File & Print-sharing Software ‘Samba’ of Apple OS

Symantec Corp warned users of Mac OS X towards end of July 2007 that there exists an un-patched security hole in the open-source file and print-sharing program, 'Samba', in the Apple operating system (OS). The hole boosts the possibility of hacking threats when an exploit code is added to the Metasploit hacking framework.

The Samba software that most Linux distributions use for file and print sharing in Windows system becomes enabled in Mac OS X with active Windows Sharing service.

Although the security hole was revealed on May 14, 2007 with a patch following immediately from the Samba group of experts, Apple hasn't updated its OS with the new patch, said Alfred Huger, VP of engineering with Symantec's response team. Mac Daily News published Huger's statement on July 30, 2007.

Samba is capable of running in almost every environment, provided the computer has Mac OS X but it raises the threat profile due to the exploit code in Metasploit, stated Huger. Computer World published it on July 27, 2007.

Huger notes that the high threat profile contributes code to Metasploit hacking framework, an open-source program for writing, examining and attacking with an exploit code. Anything new in Metasploit is likely to be employed in attacks. Every Unix-based breach, without requiring the attacker to operate the keyboard to launch his attack, is created with certain tools where Metasploit is the most preferred one.

There are high chances that hackers would try to take over Apple OSs, particularly those within the wireless networks, said Symantec in another warning notice on July 24, 2007 to consumers of its DeepSight Threat network. Computer World published this on July 27, 2007.

In Symantec's opinion, wireless networks are highly vulnerable to threats as users might be exposing it while a home network with a firewall installed at the gateway may have been better equipped to protect it.

As per Symantec's recommendations, users need to deactivate the Windows Sharing feature until a patch is available. However, technically smart users may be successful in manually compiling Samba's latest version rather than wait for the Apple's patch.

Related article: Bugs Swell In Browsers in 2006

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