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macOS Catalina 10.15.4 release: security improvements and more

Apple is rolling out a new update to macOS that could be more than just another run-of-the-mill interim release.

The fresh build, Catalina 10.15.4, surfaced on March 24, 2020 and provides a combo of the usual bug fixes, overall performance improvements, feature tweaks, and security patches. A few noteworthy changes include iCloud Drive folder sharing that’s now doable in Finder, streamlined Apple Music lyrics view, and an advanced accessibility option that adds extra precision to the process of moving the mouse cursor across the screen.

macOS Catalina 10.15.4 update rolling out

Although at first blush it may seem that this update boils down to regular maintenance and a garden-variety fine-tuning of a few functions, it is clearly more overarching than the previous subversion releases within macOS Catalina 10.15 framework. Given that the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2020 will likely be held in June, the 10.15.4 update could be the final one paving the company’s way to another major macOS release.

Dozens of security patches provided

The latest macOS build includes fixes for a total of 26 known CVE flaws. One of the potentially impactful vulnerabilities covered in the update is documented as CVE-2019-19232. It allows a malicious actor to pass himself off as a nonexistent user by executing a peculiar sudo command.

One more imperfection addressed in the update is catalogued as CVE-2019-14615. This one applies to scarce data access controls in some Intel Processors and, if exploited, makes it possible for an unauthenticated user to get hold of information stored locally.

Additionally, a number of loopholes patched in Catalina 10.15.4 are vulnerabilities in IOHIDFamily kernel extension. On a side note, this component is shared by both macOS and iOS devices and demonstrates how closely interrelated these platforms have become over time.

Safari got a security-related tweak as well. The update hardens the browser’s defenses with Content Blocker extensions brought by Mac Catalyst apps. This is an extra layer of protection against malicious scripts invoked by dubious websites.

An awesome modification arriving with this release is about the extensive controls of Screen Time communications. This addition makes it easier for parents to limit and keep tabs on who their kids can communicate with during the day.

Final thoughts

Experts argue that macOS 10.15.4 could be the final iteration of Catalina before it is superseded by the next major version of the operating system. The above-mentioned WWDC 2020 event will probably dot the i’s and cross the t’s regarding these predictions in a couple of months. In the meanwhile, if you own a MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air, or another Apple machine supporting Catalina, be sure to install the new update to benefit from the advanced security mechanisms and features.


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