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Apple patches OS X against Shellshock bug: Now it's your turn

Apple has released a patch designed to neutralise the gaping vulnerability known as "Shellshock", an exploit in many Unix-based computers' shells that allows even inexperienced attackers to gain complete access using only 3 lines of code.

"The vast majority of OS X users are not at risk to recently reported bash vulnerabilities," an Apple spokesperson told ITProPortal earlier this week.

Read more: Shellshock: How to protect yourself (opens in new tab)

(opens in new tab)"Bash, a UNIX command shell and language included in OS X, has a weakness that could allow unauthorized users to remotely gain control of vulnerable systems. With OS X, systems are safe by default and not exposed to remote exploits of bash unless users configure advanced UNIX services. We are working to quickly provide a software update for our advanced UNIX users."

However, anyone who worries that they or their business might be vulnerable should take steps to update their systems now. The updates haven't yet made their way onto Apple's automated update tool, but the individual links for the updates are here: for Mavericks (opens in new tab), for Lion (opens in new tab), and for Mountain Lion (opens in new tab). For more information on the latest patch and what it contains, check outApple's support page (opens in new tab).

Related: What every business needs to know about Shellshock (opens in new tab)

Shellshock hit the headlines yesterday with many security researchers, including Darien Kindlund from FireEye, stating that “it’s worse than Heartbleed” and Robert Graham adding that some systems won’t be able to be patched to prevent damage.

Unfortunately, the bug is pretty ubiquitous, and as such a large per cent of software across the web is constantly interacting with the shell, meaning there are a number of different ways it can infiltrate software.

Regular users of OS X don’t have any real need to panic and Apple has been at pains to point out that its advanced users that have configured UNIX services that are mainly at risk and may need to turn off services or apply home-made patches using Xcode.

For the full rundown on how to protect your machines from the Bash big, check out guide on the measure that can be taken.

Paul has worked as an archivist, editor and journalist, and has a PhD in the cultural and literary significance of ruins. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The BBC, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Discover Magazine, and he was previously Staff Writer and Journalist at ITProPortal.