1 in 5 Macs May Be Vulnerable to Attacks as Snow Leopard Retires

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be retiring the Snow Leopard iteration of its OSX operating system, according to a ComputerWorld report Tuesday. The company has twice declined to offer a security update for the operating system, which is now four and half years old, making it clear that it will no longer patch OSX 10.6.

Monday, the company issued two new security updates; one for it’s newest operating system, Mavericks, or OSX 10.9, as well as similar updates for Mountain Lion (10.8) and Lion (10.7).

It’s speculated that Snow Leopard’s retirement is due in part to a revised and accelerated development schedule for the OSX operating system, which is now set to receive a new, upgraded version every year. Unlike Microsoft, which is known for clearly communicating its support policies, Apple is notoriously vague regarding security and support issues. “Let’s face it, Apple doesn’t go out of their way to ensure users are aware when products are going end of life,” said AndrewStorms, director of DevOps at the security company CloudPassage, who spoke with ComputerWorld.

As of a January report, 19 percent of all Macs are still running Snow Leopard, despite the fact that the operating system is more than four years old. That number means that more Macs are running Snow Leopard than the operating system’s successor, Lion, which according to the report, is only being run on 16 percent of Macs.

While Apple may be well and done with its four-year-old operating system, the sheer volume of Mac users still running Snow Leopard means that without patches and updates, 1 in 5 Macs are left vulnerable to potential security problems, ComputerWorld reports. Furthermore, yesterday’s updates for Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lion patched 21 different vulnerabilities, suggesting that there is, in fact, cause for concern.

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