Panther: a £99 security update?

Thursday, 30 October 2003, 12:22 PM EST

Apple Computer's latest version of its Mac OS X operating system, Panther, patches security flaws that affect previous versions of the operating system, leaving security experts wondering if users will have to pay the £99 upgrade fee to be secure.

On Tuesday, Apple released an advisory that indicate that the Mac OS X 10.3 upgrade -- which adds an improved Finder menu, better synchronisation of files and a tool to help users find a specific window on a crowded desktop -- also includes more than a dozen "security enhancements".

However, Apple apparently doesn't intend to fix the flaws in previous versions of the software: Apple's Security Updates Web page doesn't list fixes for the flaws in Mac OS X 10.2 and earlier.

"It is not a friendly thing to tell your customers to shell out a lot of money to stay secure," said Thor Larholm, senior researcher for software security firm PivX Solutions. "It would be a dangerous precedent, if they did."

Apple declined comment.

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