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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

September 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

August 18, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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 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 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 of actively e
Apple Releases Security Patches for all Devices Fixing Dozens of New Vulnerabilities

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

July 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

July 19, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

July 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

June 20, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

June 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

April 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

March 23, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

February 11, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

February 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

January 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

January 12, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

January 11, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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
Expert Details macOS Bug That Could Let Malware Bypass Gatekeeper Security

Expert Details macOS Bug That Could Let Malware Bypass Gatekeeper Security

December 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Apple recently fixed a security vulnerability in the macOS operating system that could be potentially exploited by a threat actor to "trivially and reliably" bypass a "myriad of foundational macOS security mechanisms" and run arbitrary code. Security researcher Patrick Wardle  detailed  the discovery in a series of tweets on Thursday. Tracked as CVE-2021-30853 (CVSS score: 5.5), the issue relates to a scenario where a rogue macOS app may circumvent  Gatekeeper  checks, which ensure that only trusted apps can be run and that they have passed an automated process called " app notarization ." The iPhone maker, crediting Gordon Long of Box with reporting the flaw, said it  addressed the weakness  with improved checks as part of macOS 11.6 updates officially released on September 20, 2021. "Such bugs are often particularly impactful to everyday macOS users as they provide a means for adware and malware authors to sidestep macOS security mechanisms, …m
Hackers Exploit macOS Zero-Day to Hack Hong Kong Users with new Implant

Hackers Exploit macOS Zero-Day to Hack Hong Kong Users with new Implant

November 12, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google researchers on Thursday disclosed that it found a watering hole attack in late August exploiting a now-patched zero-day in macOS operating system and targeting Hong Kong websites related to a media outlet and a prominent pro-democracy labor and political group to deliver a never-before-seen backdoor on compromised machines. "Based on our findings, we believe this threat actor to be a well-resourced group, likely state backed, with access to their own software engineering team based on the quality of the payload code," Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG) researcher Erye Hernandez  said  in a report. Tracked as CVE-2021-30869 (CVSS score: 7.8), the security shortcoming concerns a type confusion vulnerability affecting the XNU kernel component that could cause a malicious application to execute arbitrary code with the highest privileges. Apple originally addressed the issue for macOS Big Sur devices as part of a security update shipped on February 1, only to follow
New 'Shrootless' Bug Could Let Attackers Install Rootkit on macOS Systems

New 'Shrootless' Bug Could Let Attackers Install Rootkit on macOS Systems

October 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Thursday disclosed details of a new vulnerability that could allow an attacker to bypass security restrictions in macOS and take complete control of the device to perform arbitrary operations on the device without getting flagged by traditional security solutions. Dubbed " Shrootless " and tracked as  CVE-2021-30892 , the "vulnerability lies in how Apple-signed packages with post-install scripts are installed," Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team's Jonathan Bar Or  said  in a technical write-up. "A malicious actor could create a specially crafted file that would hijack the installation process." System Integrity Protection ( SIP ) aka "rootless" is a  security feature  introduced in OS X El Capitan that's designed to protect the macOS operating system by restricting a  root user  from executing unauthorized code or performing operations that may compromise system integrity. Specifically, SIP allows modification of prote
Urgent Apple iOS and macOS Updates Released to Fix Actively Exploited Zero-Days

Urgent Apple iOS and macOS Updates Released to Fix Actively Exploited Zero-Days

September 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Apple on Thursday released security updates to fix multiple security vulnerabilities in older versions of  iOS  and  macOS  that it says have been detected in exploits in the wild, in addition to expanding patches for a previously plugged security weakness abused by NSO Group's Pegasus surveillance tool to target iPhone users. Chief among them is CVE-2021-30869, a type confusion flaw that resides in the kernel component  XNU  developed by Apple that could cause a malicious application to execute arbitrary code with the highest privileges. The Cupertino-based tech giant said it addressed the bug with improved state handling. Google's Threat Analysis Group, which is credited with reporting the flaw, said it detected the vulnerability being "used in conjunction with a N-day remote code execution targeting WebKit." Two other flaws include  CVE-2021-30858 and CVE-2021-30860 , both of which were resolved by the company earlier this month following disclosure from the
Unpatched High-Severity Vulnerability Affects Apple macOS Computers

Unpatched High-Severity Vulnerability Affects Apple macOS Computers

September 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday disclosed details of an unpatched zero-day vulnerability in macOS Finder that could be abused by remote adversaries to trick users into running arbitrary commands on the machines. "A vulnerability in macOS Finder allows files whose extension is inetloc to execute arbitrary commands, these files can be embedded inside emails which if the user clicks on them will execute the commands embedded inside them without providing a prompt or warning to the user," SSD Secure Disclosure  said  in a write-up published today. Park Minchan, an independent security researcher, has been credited with reporting the vulnerability which affects macOS versions of Big Sur and prior. The weakness arises due to the manner macOS processes INETLOC files — shortcuts to open internet locations such as RSS feeds, Telnet connections, or other online resources and local files — resulting in a scenario that allows commands embedded in those files to be executed wit
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