Apple pushed out its first-ever automatic security update for Mac computers on Monday, fixing a security flaw that the company felt was too dangerous to wait for users to patch.
The security flaw was made public on Friday on security bulletins by the Department of Homeland Security and the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute. Security researchers who discovered the bugs warned they could enable hackers to gain remote control of machines.
The security fix patches vulnerabilities in OS X’s network time protocol, or NTP, according to Apple spokesman Bill Evans. NTP is used for synchronizing clocks on computer systems.
"The update is seamless," Evans said. "It doesn’t even require a restart."
Apple does not know of any cases where vulnerable Mac computers were targeted by hackers looking to exploit the bugs, he added.
Apple introduced technology two years ago to allow it to automatically push out security updates, but the feature had never been used because the company preferred to prompt users to download the updates themselves. Apple decided to automatically push out the update in this instance because it wanted to protect customers as quickly as possible, Evans said.