Security update breaks printer drivers, Instant Hijack component

Security update breaks printer drivers, Instant Hijack component

Summary: Discussion boards are breaking with reports of SSH and printer problems caused by Apple's late Tuesday release of Mac OS X's Security Update 2008-002. However, fixes can be had.


Discussion boards are breaking with reports of SSH and printer problems caused by Apple's late Tuesday release of Mac OS X's Security Update 2008-002. However, fixes can be had.

Rogue Amoeba Software released a compatibility fix for its Instant Hijack component that is often installed by the company's Airfoil, Audio Hijack Pro, and Nicecast applications. The problem causes SSH and other programs crash on Leopard machines.

The company suggested users to download the updates to its programs.

So, what caused this issue? This was due to a bug in Instant Hijack and is related to a new security feature in Leopard called position-independent executables (PIE). PIE is related to address space layout randomization. The basic effect is to move programs such as ssh to a different place in memory each time they start, making it more difficult for an attacker to exploit them.

Position-independent executables were available in Leopard from the start, and Instant Hijack was written to take them into account. However, nothing on the system actually used this facility when Leopard shipped. That changed with Security Update 2008-002, which includes a copy of ssh and related utilities which were compiled using PIE. At that point, we discovered that Instant Hijack’s PIE support didn’t work correctly.

Instant Hijack’s PIE support expected the program to be loaded at a random address. However, Leopard’s PIE implementation loads a program’s executable code into memory, and then moved it to a new, random address. Instant Hijack briefly inspects each process as it launches, in order to catch those that produce audio. On something like ssh, it exits very early, but that was enough to cause an issue here. Instant Hijack was left looking for the executable code in the original but since-vacated spot, and this triggered a crash.

On Apple's discussion boards users also complained that printing had stopped after installing the security patch. (Another reason to always backup before installing any system update.) Readers said repairing permissions didn't help.

Some users said deleting the /usr/libexec/cups/filter/pstops file (or replacing it from a backup) also worked.

Some readers said that reinstalling the Combo 10.5.2 Updater also worked.

Topics: Printers, Hardware, Security

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  • First rule of thumb for anyone OSX or Windows

    Let someone else be the test dummy...:P I usually try to keep
    to this. Never by the first generation of a new hardware
    product like say the iPhone. Never install a new OS first let
    some others break the ground for you and never install
    updates or patches right off the bat. I can't tell you how
    many times over the years this has caused problems in both
    departments the MAC and Windows PCs.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • True of all OSs and Apps. (nt)

    • If Everybody took your advice

      If everybody took your advice, no one would ever buy anything... :)
      Real World
    • Sometimes one has to step up and be that dummy...

      However, if you do it wisely (and have the capability to do it) then doing your own trials before deployment usually work out well.

      However, if you're just on your own, then waiting is a good idea unless there's some major and compelling force driving you to patch and hope for the best.
    • I'll be first.

      I never hesitate to update anything.

      Just to let you know, I've had no problems with my intel mini,
      my G5 iMac, or my G4 iBook.

      On the other hand, I don't use SSH, except to quiet people in
      • No Problem Here

        Ditto here, and I can add that I just tested ssh to connect
        back home.
        • Nor Here

          Installed the OS X security update and Safari 3.1 update on my MacBook (Intel Core 2 Duo, OS X 10.5.2) and my trusty old iMac G4 800 (OS X 10.4.12, IIRC), and have seen no problems with either.
          • My guess would be

            that the people with SSH and printing problems swapped out
            the SSH and CUPS components that came with OS X with
            "better" UNIX versions.
    • It's all freakin' horseshot

      Get off your posterior and, if you can't do that, ask a friend what to do to fix it - maybe get them round and enjoy a bottle of wine at the same time. Computing cannot keep pandering to the nitwits.
      • Nitwits

        On the other hand not everybody can be a "tape on the glasses""pens in the pocket" nerd who doesn't have patience for the everyday ordinary non-tecnical user. These things should be worked out (read: done right) before they are dumped on the unsuspecting public. When you look at the size of this update, we sure know now that this OS wasn't as rosy as everybody was saying. There are a ton of problems.
        • That's true of most Apple fanboys

          They can barely get their email let alone turn the machine on.
          hasta la Vista, bah-bie
    • Fool!

      OSX just works!
      • Guess you forgot to read the article.

      • you can read that 2 ways

        just works as in barely would be my take :-)
        Paul Fletcher
    • Goodt point

      Well said. Although I am getting a bit of a laugh out of the whole security issue thing popping up with OSX. I got so tired of hearing people talking about Apple OS like it was somehow magically invulnerable. Hard lessons to be learned. Most Apple users I know take no precautions whatsoever to secure their machines. No Virus checking nothing.
      • Not strange just human nature...

        We in the United States have never suffered a serious
        attack on us on our own shores. There were some but for
        the most part they were either very small or failed
        miserably. Now came 9\11 and it was so easily avoidable.
        We did not have to listen or spy on our own people to
        avoid it. In the end all we needed was for the FBI and CIA
        as well as other security organizations like perhaps the
        NSA to have been in constant contact sharing info. That
        and only a slight heightened level of awareness would have
        prevented 9\11, One of the reasons I think things like the
        Partriot Act, Phone taping and email snooping as well as
        the war in Iraq were all and are all not needed.

        You can't blame people for being lax when generations of
        them had grown up not knowing what could be. Same
        with Mac users it's not real till it happens for many. I only
        hope that when it does Mac users will be more level
        headed than our own government was after 9\11,,,sigh.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • Not all true

          After the 1972 Watergate break-in, in which CIA personnel were involved. Public confidence was diminished, leading to more legal restrictions, on the agency. Executive orders signed by Presidents Ford and Carter. Brought increased oversight of The agency. It seems some of the things used by the agency, such as torture, assassinations, attempted assassinations, lying, kidnapping, and so on. Was a little too distasteful for us civilized Americans. As a result, by the early 1990s, the U.S. intelligence community found itself so restricted that it could hardly conduct its operations. This fact hit home after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when it became apparent that a lack of human intelligence had contributed to the government's failure to foresee the attacks. Should I say more???
          • Hmmmm I don't think much of our list

            Torture, assassination, nor kidnapping were needed to
            prevent 9\11. As I understood the case simple
            communication between various intelligence organizations
            would have prevented it. That and a greater sense of
            urgency which again is human nature at its worse. We are
            often surprised by the unexpected even though in hind site
            one MIGHT have known better. Still I am glad that in the
            past and hopefully the future things like torture will be but
            a sad and dark part of our history much like slavery. It was
            not needed to prevent 9\11 nor has anyone shown that it
            is needed after 9\11. At least to my satisfaction.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • Also

            Do you realized, that the number of aircraft, that the terrorist could have hijacked. Was only limited by the number of suicide teams they had. They could have hijacked 50 aircraft. Because the gullible public was demanding, that the government.Do something about the long waits, because of security checks.The government threaten to fine the airlines. So the airlines as most companies will do. Ordered their personnel to speed up operations. So everything was sped up, and security became a joke.After 9-11, I haven't heard anything more, about the government fining the airlines for long waits, HAVE YOU????
      • What's the point?

        It gets pretty boring scanning my HD for
        viruses, and coming up, multiple times, with
        nothing, nada, zip.

        I run no firewall beyond the built-in system
        version, and no anti-virus soft. I am behind a
        NAT router, which, other than a regular back-
        up strategy, is all of the protection that I need.

        Viruses are for Windows.