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Security bod uncovers 15-year-old macOS zero-day flaw

APPLE’S BAD LUCK seems to be continuing into 2018, with a researcher uncovering a previously-undiscovered macOS flaw that’s thought to be around 15-years-old. 

While the flaw isn’t hugely devastating, it shows how companies like Apple fail to identify and fix security problems. Wccftech, which broke the story, described it as “sloppy”.

The researcher, who goes by the name of ‘Hobbyist Hacker’, claims that cyber crooks can tap into the flaw to get access to macOS systems, execute arbitrary code and gain root permissions.

Described as a local privilege escalation (LPE) vulnerability, it affects an extension of MacOS called IOHIDFamily. Hackers are able to deploy a “root shell”.

That’s not all, though. Crooks can also use the vulnerability to target the System Integrity Protection (SIP) and Apple Mobile File Integrity (AMFI) security programmes.

For the exploit to be a success, attackers have to log users out of the system. And by that point, it’s likely most people will have become alarmed.

There is a sneaky side of the vulnerability, though. To avoid detection, attackers can target the exploit when users shut down or restart their computers.

The researcher explained: “Needs to be running on the host already (nothing remote), achieves full system compromise by itself, but logs you out in the process.

“Can wait for logout though and is fast enough to run on shutdown/reboot until 10.13.1. On 10.13.2 it takes a fair bit longer (maybe half a minute) after logging out, so if your OS logs you out unexpectedly… maybe pull the plug?”

Luckily, the vulnerability doesn’t affect other Apple products, including iOS. The company has yet to comment on the situation, and you can find more details here.



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