Record-breaking Safari update patches mass bugs

Apple patched 83 vulnerabilities in its Safari browser yesterday.

That makes it the biggest single update for the software in its entire history. The update brings Safari to version 5.1.4 and is more than the 62 patches release in a single update back in March 2011.

Apple classified 72 of the holes that were patched as being critical. It is not nearly as transparent as Microsoft in assigning threat levels to all of its vulnerabilities, but it did not that some of the bugs could lead to “arbitrary code execution.” That’s regarded as the biggest threat for Web-based software.

According to Apple, many of the vulnerabilities, if exploited, could have been used to plant malware on an unsuspecting user’s Mac computer. Apple is realizing that as its products become more and more mainstream, it becomes a bigger and bigger target and it has to open some of the valves on its extraordinarily closed-off infrastructure.

Case in point – Safari is available on more than just Apple devices now, so the company has to watch for exploits that could be taken advantage of in other operating systems.

The new Safari update wasn’t exclusively related to bug fixing. It also enhanced Javascript performance for Mac OS X Lion users. It also tweaked the way the browser handles Flash content.

In addition, problems such as the screen dimming while watching HTML5 video, and slow browser load times were also addressed.