Apple kept its rush of year-end security patches coming on Monday, issuing a flurry of fixes for its Mac OS X operating system and the test version of its Safari browser.

Monday's patches included a whopping 31 updates for the Apple operating system. The Mac OS X patches fix components ranging from the Address Book and iChat software to under-the-covers operating system components such as ColorSync, the IO Storage Family, and the Perl, Python and Ruby programming languages.

Most of these flaws theoretically could be exploited by attackers to run unauthorised software on the Mac, although some of them had other security implications, such as allowing an attacker to gain access to sensitive information or download files to the computer without authorisation.

These updates are for the Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 operating systems, known as Tiger and Leopard, respectively.

Apple also released a minor update to its Safari 3 beta code, which runs on Windows as well as Mac OS X, fixing a cross-site scripting security problem that affects Windows users.

The patches come just days after Apple released a major update to its QuickTime media player and a Java security fix for the Mac OS X 10.4 operating system, code-named Tiger. The QuickTime flaw was particularly serious, as it had been exploited by online criminals since early December.

With hackers and security researchers now paying more attention to Apple's products, the company's security team has been working overtime on bug fixes this year. Monday's patches were Apple's 35th and 36th security updates this year. In 2006, the company released just 22 sets of patches for its products.