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Microsoft Details Gatekeeper Bypass Vulnerability in Apple macOS Systems

Microsoft Details Gatekeeper Bypass Vulnerability in Apple macOS Systems

Dec 20, 2022 Endpoint Security / Vulnerability
Microsoft has disclosed details of a now-patched security flaw in Apple macOS that could be exploited by an attacker to get around security protections imposed to prevent the execution of malicious applications. The shortcoming, dubbed  Achilles  ( CVE-2022-42821 , CVSS score: 5.5), was addressed by the iPhone maker in  macOS Ventura 13 ,  Monterey 12.6.2 , and  Big Sur 11.7.2 , describing it as a logic issue that could be weaponized by an app to circumvent Gatekeeper checks. "Gatekeeper bypasses such as this could be leveraged as a vector for initial access by malware and other threats and could help increase the success rate of malicious campaigns and attacks on macOS," Jonathan Bar Or of the Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team  said . Gatekeeper is a  security mechanism  designed to ensure that only trusted apps run on the operating system. This is  enforced  by means of an extended attribute called "com.apple.quarantine" that's assigned to files downlo
New Actively Exploited Zero-Day Vulnerability Discovered in Apple Products

New Actively Exploited Zero-Day Vulnerability Discovered in Apple Products

Dec 14, 2022 Zero-Day Vulnerability
Apple on Tuesday rolled out security updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and Safari web browser to address a new zero-day vulnerability that could result in the execution of malicious code. Tracked as  CVE-2022-42856 , the issue has been described by the tech giant as a type confusion issue in the WebKit browser engine that could be triggered when processing specially crafted content, leading to arbitrary code execution. The company said it's "aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited against versions of iOS released before iOS 15.1." While details surrounding the exact nature of the attacks are unknown as yet, it's likely that it involved a case of social engineering or a watering hole to infect the devices when visiting a rogue or legitimate-but-compromised domain via the browser. It's worth noting that every third-party web browser that's available for iOS and iPadOS, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edg
Apple iOS and macOS Flaw Could've Let Apps Eavesdrop on Your Conversations with Siri

Apple iOS and macOS Flaw Could've Let Apps Eavesdrop on Your Conversations with Siri

Oct 27, 2022
A now-patched security flaw in Apple's iOS and macOS operating systems could have potentially enabled apps with Bluetooth access to eavesdrop on conversations with Siri. Apple said "an app may be able to record audio using a pair of connected AirPods," adding it addressed the Core Bluetooth issue in iOS 16.1 with improved entitlements. Credited with discovering and reporting the bug in August 2022 is app developer Guilherme Rambo. The bug, dubbed  SiriSpy , has been assigned the identifier CVE-2022-32946. "Any app with access to Bluetooth could record your conversations with Siri and audio from the iOS keyboard dictation feature when using AirPods or Beats headsets," Rambo  said  in a write-up. "This would happen without the app requesting microphone access permission and without the app leaving any trace that it was listening to the microphone." The vulnerability, according to Rambo, relates to a service called DoAP that's included in AirPo
New Chinese Malware Attack Framework Targets Windows, macOS, and Linux Systems

New Chinese Malware Attack Framework Targets Windows, macOS, and Linux Systems

Oct 13, 2022
A previously undocumented command-and-control (C2) framework dubbed Alchimist is likely being used in the wild to target Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. "Alchimist C2 has a web interface written in Simplified Chinese and can generate a configured payload, establish remote sessions, deploy payload to the remote machines, capture screenshots, perform remote shellcode execution, and run arbitrary commands," Cisco Talos  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. Written in GoLang, Alchimist is complemented by a beacon implant called Insekt, which comes with remote access features that can be instrumented by the C2 server. The discovery of Alchimist and its assorted family of malware implants comes three months after Talos also detailed another self-contained framework known as  Manjusaka , which has been  touted  as the "Chinese sibling of Sliver and Cobalt Strike." Even more interestingly, both Manjusaka and Alchimist pack in similar functionalities, desp
Details Released for Recently Patched new macOS Archive Utility Vulnerability

Details Released for Recently Patched new macOS Archive Utility Vulnerability

Oct 06, 2022
Security researchers have shared details about a now-addressed security flaw in Apple's macOS operating system that could be potentially exploited to run malicious applications in a manner that can bypass Apple's security measures. The vulnerability, tracked as  CVE-2022-32910 , is rooted in the built-in Archive Utility and "could lead to the execution of an unsigned and unnotarized application without displaying security prompts to the user, by using a specially crafted archive," Apple device management firm Jamf said in an analysis. Following responsible disclosure on May 31, 2022, Apple addressed the issue as part of  macOS Big Sur 11.6.8  and  Monterey 12.5  released on July 20, 2022. The tech giant, for its part, also revised the earlier-issued advisories as of October 4 to add an entry for the flaw. Apple described the bug as a logic issue that could allow an archive file to get around Gatekeeper checks, which is designed so as to ascertain that only trust
Apple Releases iOS and macOS Updates to Patch Actively Exploited Zero-Day Flaw

Apple Releases iOS and macOS Updates to Patch Actively Exploited Zero-Day Flaw

Sep 13, 2022
Apple has released another round of security updates to address multiple vulnerabilities in iOS and macOS, including a new zero-day flaw that has been used in attacks in the wild. The issue, assigned the identifier  CVE-2022-32917 , is rooted in the Kernel component and could enable a malicious app to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. "Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited," the iPhone maker acknowledged in a brief statement, adding it resolved the bug with improved bound checks. An anonymous researcher has been credited with reporting the shortcoming. It's worth noting that CVE-2022-32917 is also the  second Kernel related zero-day flaw  that Apple has remediated in less than a month. Patches are available in versions  iOS 15.7, iPadOS 15.7 ,  iOS 16 ,  macOS Big Sur 11.7 , and  macOS Monterey 12.6 . The iOS and iPadOS updates cover iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generati
Apple Releases Security Updates to Patch Two New Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

Apple Releases Security Updates to Patch Two New Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

Aug 18, 2022
Apple on Wednesday released security updates for  iOS, iPadOS , and  macOS  platforms to remediate two zero-day vulnerabilities previously exploited by threat actors to compromise its devices. The list of issues is below - CVE-2022-32893  - An out-of-bounds write issue in WebKit which could lead to the execution of arbitrary code by processing a specially crafted web content CVE-2022-32894  - An out-of-bounds write issue in the operating system's Kernel that could be abused by a malicious application to execute arbitrary code with the highest privileges Apple said it addressed both the issues with improved bounds checking, adding it's aware the vulnerabilities "may have been actively exploited." The company did not disclose any additional information regarding these attacks or the identities of the threat actors perpetrating them, although it's likely that they were abused as part of highly-targeted intrusions. The latest update brings the total number o
Apple Releases Security Patches for all Devices Fixing Dozens of New Vulnerabilities

Apple Releases Security Patches for all Devices Fixing Dozens of New Vulnerabilities

Jul 21, 2022
Apple on Wednesday rolled out  software fixes  for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS to address a number of security flaws affecting its platforms. This includes at least 37 flaws spanning different components in iOS and macOS that range from privilege escalation to arbitrary code execution and from information disclosure to denial-of-service (DoS). Chief among them is CVE-2022-2294, a memory corruption flaw in the WebRTC component that Google  disclosed  earlier this month as having been exploited in real-world attacks aimed at users of the Chrome browser. There is, however, no evidence of in-the-wild zero-day exploitation of the flaw targeting iOS, macOS, and Safari. Besides CVE-2022-2294, the updates also address several arbitrary code execution flaws impacting Apple Neural Engine (CVE-2022-32810, CVE-2022-32829, and CVE-2022-32840), Audio (CVE-2022-32820), GPU Drivers (CVE-2022-32821), ImageIO (CVE-2022-32802), IOMobileFrameBuffer (CVE-2022-26768), Kernel (CVE-2022-32813
Experts Uncover New CloudMensis Spyware Targeting Apple macOS Users

Experts Uncover New CloudMensis Spyware Targeting Apple macOS Users

Jul 19, 2022
Cybersecurity researchers have taken the wraps off a previously undocumented spyware targeting the Apple macOS operating system. The malware, codenamed  CloudMensis  by Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET, is said to exclusively use public cloud storage services such as pCloud, Yandex Disk, and Dropbox for receiving attacker commands and exfiltrating files. "Its capabilities clearly show that the intent of its operators is to gather information from the victims' Macs by exfiltrating documents, keystrokes, and screen captures," ESET researcher Marc-Etienne M.Léveillé  said  in a report published today. CloudMensis, written in Objective-C, was first discovered in April 2022 and is designed to strike both Intel and Apple silicon architectures. The initial infection vector for the attacks and the targets remain unknown as yet. But its very limited distribution is an indication that the malware is being used as part of a highly targeted operation directed against entities of i
Apple's New "Lockdown Mode" Protects iPhone, iPad, and Mac Against Spyware

Apple's New "Lockdown Mode" Protects iPhone, iPad, and Mac Against Spyware

Jul 07, 2022
Apple on Wednesday announced it plans to introduce an enhanced security setting called  Lockdown Mode  in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura to safeguard high-risk users against "highly targeted cyberattacks." The "extreme, optional protection" feature, now available for preview in beta versions of its upcoming software, is designed to counter a surge in threats posed by private companies developing state-sponsored surveillanceware such as  Pegasus ,  DevilsTongue ,  Predator , and  Hermit . Lockdown Mode, when enabled, "hardens device defenses and strictly limits certain functionalities, sharply reducing the attack surface that potentially could be exploited by highly targeted mercenary spyware," Apple  said  in a statement. This includes blocking most message attachment types other than images and disabling link previews in Messages; rendering inoperative just-in-time ( JIT ) JavaScript compilation; removing support for shared albums in Photos; a
Google Researchers Detail 5-Year-Old Apple Safari Vulnerability Exploited in the Wild

Google Researchers Detail 5-Year-Old Apple Safari Vulnerability Exploited in the Wild

Jun 20, 2022
A security flaw in Apple Safari that was exploited in the wild earlier this year was originally fixed in 2013 and reintroduced in December 2016, according to a new report from Google Project Zero. The issue, tracked as  CVE-2022-22620  (CVSS score: 8.8), concerns a case of a use-after-free vulnerability in the WebKit component that could be exploited by a piece of specially crafted web content to gain arbitrary code execution. In early February 2022, Apple shipped patches for the bug across Safari, iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, while acknowledging that it "may have been actively exploited." "In this case, the variant was completely patched when the vulnerability was initially reported in 2013," Maddie Stone of Google Project Zero  said . "However, the variant was reintroduced three years later during large refactoring efforts. The vulnerability then continued to exist for 5 years until it was fixed as an in-the-wild zero-day in January 2022." While both th
Apple's New Feature Will Install Security Updates Automatically Without Full OS Update

Apple's New Feature Will Install Security Updates Automatically Without Full OS Update

Jun 07, 2022
Apple has introduced a Rapid Security Response feature in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura that's designed to deploy security fixes without the need for a full operating system version update. "macOS security gets even stronger with new tools that make the Mac more resistant to attack, including Rapid Security Response that works in between normal updates to easily keep security up to date without a reboot," the company  said  in a statement on Monday. The feature, which also works on iOS , aims to separate regular software updates from critical security improvements and are applied automatically so that users are quickly protected against in-the-wild attacks and unexpected threats. It's worth noting that Apple tested an analogous option in iOS 14.5. Rapid Security Response, viewed in that light, mirrors a similar approach taken by Google through Play Services and Play Protect to secure Android devices from malware and other kinds of fraud. Another key security fea
UpdateAgent Returns with New macOS Malware Dropper Written in Swift

UpdateAgent Returns with New macOS Malware Dropper Written in Swift

May 17, 2022
A new variant of the macOS malware tracked as UpdateAgent has been spotted in the wild, indicating ongoing attempts on the part of its authors to upgrade its functionalities. "Perhaps one of the most identifiable features of the malware is that it relies on the AWS infrastructure to host its various payloads and perform its infection status updates to the server," researchers from Jamf Threat Labs  said  in a report. UpdateAgent, first detected in late 2020, has since  evolved  into a malware dropper, facilitating the distribution of second-stage payloads such as adware while also bypassing macOS  Gatekeeper  protections. The newly discovered Swift-based dropper masquerades as Mach-O binaries named " PDFCreator " and " ActiveDirectory " that, upon execution, establish a connection to a remote server and retrieve a bash script to be executed. "The primary difference [between the two executables] is that it reaches out to a different URL from wh
Apple Issues Patches for 2 Actively Exploited Zero-Days in iPhone, iPad and Mac Devices

Apple Issues Patches for 2 Actively Exploited Zero-Days in iPhone, iPad and Mac Devices

Apr 01, 2022
Apple on Thursday rolled out emergency patches to address two zero-day flaws in its  mobile  and  desktop operating systems  that it said may have been exploited in the wild. The shortcomings have been fixed as part of updates to iOS and iPadOS 15.4.1, macOS Monterey 12.3.1, tvOS 15.4.1, and watchOS 8.5.1. Both the vulnerabilities have been reported to Apple anonymously. Tracked as  CVE-2022-22675 , the issue has been described as an  out-of-bounds write  vulnerability in an audio and video decoding component called AppleAVD that could allow an application to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Apple said the defect was resolved with improved bounds checking, adding it's aware that "this issue may have been actively exploited." The latest version of macOS Monterey, besides fixing CVE-2022-22675, also includes remediation for  CVE-2022-22674 , an  out-of-bounds read  issue in the Intel Graphics Driver module that could enable a malicious actor to read kern
New Variant of Chinese Gimmick Malware Targeting macOS Users

New Variant of Chinese Gimmick Malware Targeting macOS Users

Mar 23, 2022
Researchers have disclosed details of a newly discovered macOS variant of a malware implant developed by a Chinese espionage threat actor known to strike attack organizations across Asia. Attributing the attacks to a group tracked as  Storm Cloud , cybersecurity firm Volexity characterized the new malware, dubbed Gimmick, as a "feature-rich, multi-platform malware family that uses public cloud hosting services (such as Google Drive) for command-and-control (C2) channels." The cybersecurity firm said it recovered the sample through memory analysis of a compromised MacBook Pro running macOS 11.6 (Big Sur) as part of an intrusion campaign that took place in late 2021. "Storm Cloud is an advanced and versatile threat actor, adapting its tool set to match different operating systems used by its targets," Volexity researchers Damien Cash, Steven Adair, and Thomas Lancaster  said  in a report. "They make use of built-in operating system utilities, open-source to
Apple Releases iOS, iPadOS, macOS Updates to Patch Actively Exploited Zero-Day Flaw

Apple Releases iOS, iPadOS, macOS Updates to Patch Actively Exploited Zero-Day Flaw

Feb 11, 2022
Apple on Thursday released security updates for  iOS, iPadOS ,  macOS , and  Safari  to address a new WebKit flaw that it said may have been actively exploited in the wild, making it the company's third zero-day patch since the start of the year. Tracked as CVE-2022-22620, the issue concerns a use-after-free vulnerability in the WebKit component that powers the Safari web browser and could be exploited by a piece of specially crafted web content to gain arbitrary code execution.  "Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited," the company said in a terse statement acknowledging in-the-wild attacks leveraging the flaw. The iPhone maker credited an anonymous researcher for discovering and reporting the flaw, adding it remediated the issue with improved memory management. The updates are available for iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th
'Roaming Mantis' Android Malware Targeting Europeans via Smishing Campaigns

'Roaming Mantis' Android Malware Targeting Europeans via Smishing Campaigns

Feb 08, 2022
A financially motivated campaign that targets Android devices and spreads mobile malware via SMS phishing techniques since at least 2018 has spread its tentacles to strike victims located in France and  Germany  for the first time. Dubbed  Roaming Mantis , the latest spate of activities observed in 2021 involve sending fake shipping-related texts containing a URL to a landing page from where Android users are infected with a banking trojan known as Wroba whereas iPhone users are redirected to a phishing page that masquerades as the official Apple website. The top affected countries, based on telemetry data gathered by Kaspersky between July 2021 and January 2022, are France, Japan, India, China, Germany, and Korea. Also tracked under the names  MoqHao  and XLoader (not to be confused with the info-stealer malware of the same name  targeting Windows and macOS ), the group's activity has continued to expand geographically even as the operators broadened their attack methods to m
Hackers Infect macOS with New DazzleSpy Backdoor in Watering-Hole Attacks

Hackers Infect macOS with New DazzleSpy Backdoor in Watering-Hole Attacks

Jan 25, 2022
A previously undocumented cyber-espionage malware aimed at Apple's macOS operating system leveraged a Safari web browser exploit as part of a watering hole attack targeting politically active, pro-democracy individuals in Hong Kong. Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET  attributed  the intrusion to an actor with "strong technical capabilities," calling out the campaign's overlaps to that of a similar digital offensive  disclosed  by Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG) in November 2021. The attack chain involved compromising a legitimate website belonging to D100 Radio, a pro-democracy internet radio station in Hong Kong, to inject malicious inline frames (aka  iframes ) between September 30 and November 4, 2021. Separately, a fraudulent website called "fightforhk[.]com" was also registered for the purpose of luring liberation activists. In the next phase, the tampered code acted as a conduit to load a  Mach-O  file by leveraging a remote code execution bug in
New SysJoker Espionage Malware Targeting Windows, macOS, and Linux Users

New SysJoker Espionage Malware Targeting Windows, macOS, and Linux Users

Jan 12, 2022
A new  cross-platform backdoor  called " SysJoker " has been observed targeting machines running Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems as part of an ongoing espionage campaign that's believed to have been initiated during the second half of 2021. "SysJoker masquerades as a system update and generates its [command-and-control server] by decoding a string retrieved from a text file hosted on Google Drive," Intezer researchers Avigayil Mechtinger, Ryan Robinson, and Nicole Fishbein  noted  in a technical write-up publicizing their findings. "Based on victimology and malware's behavior, we assess that SysJoker is after specific targets." The Israeli cybersecurity company, attributing the work to an advanced threat actor, said it first discovered evidence of the implant in December 2021 during an active attack against a Linux-based web server belonging to an unnamed educational institution. A C++-based malware, SysJoker is delivered via a dr
Microsoft Details macOS Bug That Could Let Attackers Gain Access to User Data

Microsoft Details macOS Bug That Could Let Attackers Gain Access to User Data

Jan 11, 2022
Microsoft on Monday disclosed details of a recently patched security vulnerability in Apple's macOS operating system that could be weaponized by a threat actor to expose users' personal information. Tracked as CVE-2021-30970, the flaw concerns a logic issue in the Transparency, Consent and Control (TCC) security framework, which enables users to configure the privacy settings of their apps and provide access to protected files and app data. The  Security & Privacy pane  in the macOS System Preferences app serves as the front end of TCC. Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team, which reported the vulnerability to Apple on July 15, 2021, dubbed the flaw " powerdir ." Apple  addressed  the issue as part of macOS 11.6 and 12.1 updates released in December 2021 with improved state management. While Apple does enforce a policy that limits access to TCC to only apps with full disk access, it's possible to orchestrate an attack wherein a malicious application could
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