Apple today patched a record 62 vulnerabilities in Safari 5, updating the Mac and Windows browser to version 5.0.4. Wednesday's Safari security update was released at the same time as iOS 4.3, which fixed many of the same flaws.

But Apple's update missed the cut-off for the Pwn2Own contest, which starts today and pits researchers against four browsers - including Safari, Google's Chrome, Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox - as the hackers vie for $65,000 in cash prizes.

All but six of the 62 vulnerabilities patched today were accompanied by the phrase "arbitrary code execution," Apple-speak for rating the flaws as "critical." Unlike other browser makers, including Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, Apple doesn't assign severity rankings to vulnerabilities.

According to Apple's advisory, 57 of the 62 bugs can be exploited by "drive-by" attacks that execute as soon as a victim browses to a malicious Web site with an unpatched edition of Safari.

Most of the vulnerabilities patched Wednesday were in WebKit, the open-source browser engine that powers Safari, and also Google's Chrome. In fact, more than half of the bugs Apple addressed today were originally discovered and reported by Google's own security engineers, or independent researchers who frequently earn bounties from the search company for finding flaws.

Apple also addressed several non-security issues, including one that made sites unstable when they rendered content with multiple plug-ins, another that incorrectly printed web pages and others that improved VoiceOver compatibility. VoiceOver is a text-to-speech tool included with Mac OS X that allows the blind and vision impaired to use a Mac and its Safari browser.

Safari 5.0.4 can be downloaded from Apple's site for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Apple also offered an update to Safari 4.1.3 for customers still running Mac OS X 10.4, aka Tiger.

Mac OS X users will be notified of the new version automatically, while Windows users already running Safari will be alerted by the Apple Software Update tool.