Apple Tips and Tricks
Has your Mac been ShellShocked? **Easy Vulnerability Fix**
September 26, 2014
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Update
Apple have released an official bash update to download and fix this. http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1769 (The link shows it’s for OS X Mavericks, but I suspect it auto-detects and offers up the version appropriate to your machine.)

So, although i’d heard a little about this so called ‘ShellShock’ virus today, I hadn’t really paid any attention. At least until I saw a post on Facebook that quickly highlighted how it primarily affects Macs (I have 3 running at home) and how it could potentially be a very harmful virus, allowing hackers to take control of your machine – we don’t want any of that now, do we!

Here’s the Daily Mail headline:

Bash bug could be worse than Heartbleed’: ‘Catastrophic’ flaw may threaten the security of millions of internet-connected devices
(you can read the full article here.)

I know I have a lot of completely non-tech savvy friends with Macs, so this one is for you.

Please note: I cannot guarantee this is a 100% fix, it’s just the best i’ve heard of so far.

There is a very quick way to check if your machine is vulnerable (and it probably is), simply open up ‘Terminal’ it’s an application already on your Mac machine (I know terminal may look a little scary to you, it really isn’t, just follow the instructions). Once loaded up you should see something like this (don’t worry if it’s in a different colour):

Terminal ScreenShot

Now copy and paste the following into Terminal and hit enter:
 env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable’ bash -c ‘echo hello’ 

Now, if you’re not vulnerable, then Terminal will display this message:
 bash: warning: x: ignoring function definition attempt bash: error importing function definition for `x’ hello 

If YOU ARE vulnerable, it will read:
 vulnerable hello 

Now whether your machine is vulnerable or not, you will now want to check the version of bash you’re running by entering the following into Terminal:
 bash –version 

Now if Terminal responds saying you have version 3.2.51(1)-release then you’ll want to update to the newer version. This is pretty easy and took almost no time at all, first thing you’ll want to do is download Apple’s Xcode if you don’t have it already. Then you’ll want to follow this pretty simple guide which should walk you through the BASH upgrade process. If doing this is too daunting for you i’d suggest getting someone to help you, as the only other alternative is to wait for an official apple update – and who know’s when that will be!

I’ve only done this on my Macbook Air, i’m now off to do it across my other machines. Good luck!

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About author

Marc

Marc is a web marketing, design, business fella (originally from Essex, now from Tel Aviv) who spends his days running the ever improving digital marketing agency - 3 Door Digital.

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