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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: MacOS

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 23, 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
New AdLoad Variant Bypasses Apple's Security Defenses to Target macOS Systems

New AdLoad Variant Bypasses Apple's Security Defenses to Target macOS Systems

August 16, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A new wave of attacks involving a notorious macOS adware family has evolved to leverage around 150 unique samples in the wild in 2021 alone, some of which have slipped past Apple's on-device malware scanner and even signed by its own notarization service, highlighting the malicious software ongoing attempts to adapt and evade detection. "AdLoad," as the malware is known, is one of several widespread adware and bundleware loaders targeting macOS since at least 2017. It's capable of backdooring an affected system to download and install adware or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), as well as amass and transmit information about victim machines. The new iteration "continues to impact Mac users who rely solely on Apple's built-in security control XProtect for malware detection," SentinelOne threat researcher Phil Stokes  said  in an analysis published last week. "As of today, however, XProtect arguably has around 11 different signatures for AdLoa
Apple Releases Urgent 0-Day Bug Patch for Mac, iPhone and iPad Devices

Apple Releases Urgent 0-Day Bug Patch for Mac, iPhone and iPad Devices

July 27, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Apple on Monday rolled out an urgent security update for  iOS, iPadOS , and  macOS  to address a zero-day flaw that it said may have been actively exploited, making it the thirteenth such vulnerability Apple has patched since the start of this year. The updates, which arrive less than a week after the company released iOS 14.7, iPadOS 14.7, and macOS Big Sur 11.5 to the public, fixes a memory corruption issue ( CVE-2021-30807 ) in the IOMobileFrameBuffer component, a kernel extension for managing the screen  framebuffer , that could be abused to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. The company said it addressed the issue with improved memory handling, noting it's "aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited." As is typically the case, additional details about the flaw have not been disclosed to prevent the weaponization of the vulnerability for additional attacks. Apple credited an anonymous researcher for discovering and reporting the
XLoader Windows InfoStealer Malware Now Upgraded to Attack macOS Systems

XLoader Windows InfoStealer Malware Now Upgraded to Attack macOS Systems

July 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A popular malware known for stealing sensitive information from Windows machines has evolved into a new strain capable of also targeting Apple's macOS operating system. The upgraded malware, dubbed "XLoader," is a successor to another well-known Windows-based info stealer called Formbook that's known to vacuum credentials from various web browsers, capture screenshots, record keystrokes, and download and execute files from attacker-controlled domains. "For as low as $49 on the Darknet, hackers can buy licenses for the new malware, enabling capabilities to harvest log-in credentials, collect screenshots, log keystrokes, and execute malicious files," cybersecurity firm Check Point said in a report shared with The Hacker News. Distributed via spoofed emails containing malicious Microsoft Office documents, XLoader is estimated to infected victims spanning across 69 countries between December 1, 2020, and June 1, 2021, with 53% of the infections reported in
Top 10 Privacy and Security Features Apple Announced at WWDC 2021

Top 10 Privacy and Security Features Apple Announced at WWDC 2021

June 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Apple on Monday announced a number of  privacy and security-centric features  to its upcoming versions of  iOS  and  macOS  at its all-online Worldwide Developers Conference. Here is a quick look at some of the big-ticket changes that are expected to debut later this fall: 1  — Decouple Security Patches from Feature Updates:  As  rumored before , users now have a choice between two software update versions in the Settings app. Users can either opt to update to the latest version of iOS 15 for all the latest features and most complete set of security updates or continue on iOS 14 and still get important security updates until they are ready to migrate to the next major version. 2  —  Built-in Two-factor Authenticator:  The new versions of iOS and macOS come with new options that allow users to generate two-factor authentication codes for each of the online accounts saved to iCloud Keychain (Settings > Passwords) without the need for downloading additional apps like Google Authent
Critical RCE Bug Found in Homebrew Package Manager for macOS and Linux

Critical RCE Bug Found in Homebrew Package Manager for macOS and Linux

April 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A recently identified security vulnerability in the official Homebrew Cask repository could have been exploited by an attacker to execute arbitrary code on users' machines that have Homebrew installed. The issue, which was reported to the maintainers on April 18 by a Japanese security researcher named RyotaK, stemmed from the way code changes in its  GitHub repository  were handled, resulting in a scenario where a malicious  pull request  — i.e., the proposed changes — could be automatically reviewed and approved. The flaw was fixed on April 19. Homebrew is a free and open-source software package manager solution that allows the installation of software on Apple's macOS operating system as well as Linux. Homebrew  Cask  extends the functionality to include command-line workflows for GUI-based macOS applications, fonts, plugins, and other non-open source software. "The discovered vulnerability would allow an attacker to inject arbitrary code into a cask and have it be
Malware That Spreads Via Xcode Projects Now Targeting Apple's M1-based Macs

Malware That Spreads Via Xcode Projects Now Targeting Apple's M1-based Macs

April 19, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A Mac malware campaign targeting Xcode developers has been retooled to add support for Apple's new M1 chips and expand its features to steal confidential information from cryptocurrency apps. XCSSET came into the spotlight in  August 2020  after it was found to spread via modified Xcode IDE projects, which, upon the building, were configured to execute the payload. The malware repackages payload modules to imitate legitimate Mac apps, which are ultimately responsible for infecting local Xcode projects and injecting the main payload to execute when the compromised project builds. XCSSET modules come with the capabilities to steal credentials, capture screenshots, inject malicious JavaScript into websites, plunder user data from different apps, and even encrypt files for a ransom.  Then in March 2021, Kaspersky researchers  uncovered  XCSSET samples compiled for the new Apple M1 chips, suggesting that the malware campaign was not only ongoing but also that adversaries are  activ
Apple Issues Patch for Remote Hacking Bug Affecting Billions of its Devices

Apple Issues Patch for Remote Hacking Bug Affecting Billions of its Devices

March 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Apple has released out-of-band patches for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and Safari web browser to address a security flaw that could allow attackers to run arbitrary code on devices via malicious web content. Tracked as CVE-2021-1844 , the vulnerability was discovered and reported to the company by Clément Lecigne of Google's Threat Analysis Group and Alison Huffman of Microsoft Browser Vulnerability Research. According to the update notes posted by Apple, the flaw stems from a memory corruption issue that could lead to arbitrary code execution when processing specially crafted web content. The company said the problem was addressed with "improved validation." The update is available for devices running  iOS 14.4, iPadOS 14.4 ,  macOS Big Sur , and  watchOS 7.3.1  (Apple Watch Series 3 and later), and as an  update to Safari  for MacBooks running macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave. The latest development comes on the heels of a patch for  three zero-day vulnerabilities  (CVE-
Bug in Apple's Find My Feature Could've Exposed Users' Location Histories

Bug in Apple's Find My Feature Could've Exposed Users' Location Histories

March 05, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Thursday disclosed two distinct design and implementation flaws in Apple's crowdsourced Bluetooth location tracking system that can lead to a location correlation attack and unauthorized access to the location history of the past seven days, thereby deanonymizing users. The  findings  are a consequence of an exhaustive review undertaken by the Open Wireless Link (OWL) project, a team of researchers from the Secure Mobile Networking Lab at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, who have historically taken apart Apple's wireless ecosystem with the goal of identifying security and privacy issues. In response to the disclosures on July 2, 2020, Apple is said to have partially addressed the issues, stated the researchers, who used their own data for the study citing privacy implications of the analysis. How Find My Works? Apple devices come with a feature called  Find My  that makes it easy for users to locate other Apple devices, including
Apple Patches 10-Year-Old macOS SUDO Root Privilege Escalation Bug

Apple Patches 10-Year-Old macOS SUDO Root Privilege Escalation Bug

February 10, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Apple has rolled out a fix for a critical sudo vulnerability in macOS Big Sur, Catalina, and Mojave that could allow unauthenticated local users to gain root-level privileges on the system. "A local attacker may be able to elevate their privileges," Apple  said  in a security advisory. "This issue was addressed by updating to sudo version 1.9.5p2." Sudo is a common utility built into most Unix and Linux operating systems that lets a user without security privileges access and run a program with the credentials of another user. Tracked as CVE-2021-3156 (also called " Baron Samedit "), the vulnerability first came to light last month after security auditing firm Qualys  disclosed  the existence of a heap-based buffer overflow, which it said had been "hiding in plain sight" for almost 10 years. The vulnerability, which was introduced in the code back in July 2011, impacts sudo versions 1.7.7 through 1.7.10p9, 1.8.2 through 1.8.31p2, and 1.9.0
Apple Removes macOS Feature That Allowed Apps to Bypass Firewall Security

Apple Removes macOS Feature That Allowed Apps to Bypass Firewall Security

January 17, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Apple has removed a controversial feature from its macOS operating system that allowed the company's own first-party apps to bypass content filters, VPNs, and third-party firewalls. Called " ContentFilterExclusionList ," it included a list of as many as 50 Apple apps like iCloud, Maps, Music, FaceTime, HomeKit, the App Store, and its software update service that were routed through Network Extension Framework, effectively circumventing firewall protections. This exclusion list has been scrubbed now from macOS 11.2 beta 2. The issue first came to light last October following the release of macOS Big Sur, prompting concerns from security researchers who said the feature was ripe for abuse, adding it could be leveraged by an attacker to exfiltrate sensitive data by piggybacking it on to legitimate Apple apps included on the list and then bypass firewalls and security software. "After lots of bad press and lots of feedback/bug reports to Apple from developers such
Apple Lets Some of its Big Sur macOS Apps Bypass Firewall and VPNs

Apple Lets Some of its Big Sur macOS Apps Bypass Firewall and VPNs

November 18, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Apple is facing the heat for a new feature in macOS Big Sur that allows many of its own apps to bypass firewalls and VPNs, thereby potentially allowing malware to exploit the same shortcoming to access sensitive data stored on users' systems and transmit them to remote servers. The issue was first spotted last month by a Twitter user named Maxwell in a beta version of the operating system. "Some Apple apps bypass some network extensions and VPN Apps," Maxwell  tweeted . "Maps for example can directly access the internet bypassing any NEFilterDataProvider or NEAppProxyProviders you have running." But now that the iPhone maker has released the latest version of macOS to the public on November 12, the behavior has been left unchanged, prompting concerns from security researchers, who say the change is ripe for abuse. Of particular note is the possibility that the bypass can leave macOS systems open to attack, not to mention the inability to limit or block net
Windows GravityRAT Malware Now Also Targets macOS and Android Devices

Windows GravityRAT Malware Now Also Targets macOS and Android Devices

October 20, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A Windows-based remote access Trojan believed to be designed by Pakistani hacker groups to infiltrate computers and steal users' data has resurfaced after a two-year span with retooled capabilities to target Android and macOS devices. According to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, the malware — dubbed " GravityRAT " — now masquerades as legitimate Android and macOS apps to capture device data, contact lists, e-mail addresses, and call and text logs and transmit them to an attacker-controlled server. First documented by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in August 2017 and subsequently by  Cisco Talos  in April 2018, GravityRAT has been known to target Indian entities and organizations via malware-laced Microsoft Office Word documents at least since 2015. Noting that the threat actor developed at least four different versions of the espionage tool, Cisco said, "the developer was clever enough to keep this infrastructure safe, and not have it blackl
New Privacy Features Added to the Upcoming Apple iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur

New Privacy Features Added to the Upcoming Apple iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur

June 23, 2020Swati Khandelwal
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. No, we're not talking about 'coronavirus,' the current global pandemic because of which Apple—for the very first time in history—organized its Worldwide Developer Conference ( WWDC ) virtually. Here we're talking about a world in which we are all connected and constantly sharing data, also known as the new oil, with something called "privacy" for which we still have to fight on several fronts together. During WWDC 2020 on Monday, the world's most valuable company announced the next versions of its operating systems — iOS 14 for iPhones, iPadOS 14 for iPads, watchOS 7 for Apple Watches, and macOS Big Sur for MacBooks — with new features and enhancements. What's important is that the company also highlighted a few new security and privacy features that have been added to the upcoming iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur systems, categorically aiming to help users: better control which apps installed
7 New Flaws Affect All Thunderbolt-equipped Computers Sold in the Last 9 Years

7 New Flaws Affect All Thunderbolt-equipped Computers Sold in the Last 9 Years

May 11, 2020Mohit Kumar
A cybersecurity researcher today uncovers a set of 7 new unpatchable hardware vulnerabilities that affect all desktops and laptops sold in the past 9 years with Thunderbolt, or Thunderbolt-compatible USB-C ports. Collectively dubbed 'ThunderSpy,' the vulnerabilities can be exploited in 9 realistic evil-maid attack scenarios, primarily to steal data or read/write all of the system memory of a locked or sleeping computer—even when drives are protected with full disk encryption. In a nutshell, if you think someone with a few minutes of physical access to your computer—regardless of the location—can cause any form of significant harm to you, you're at risk for an evil maid attack. According to Björn Ruytenberg of the Eindhoven University of Technology, the ThunderSpy attack "may require opening a target laptop's case with a screwdriver, [but] it leaves no trace of intrusion and can be pulled off in just a few minutes." In other words, the flaw is not li
You Can Now Run Android on an iPhone With 'Project Sandcastle'

You Can Now Run Android on an iPhone With 'Project Sandcastle'

March 05, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Not happy with your expensive iPhone and wondered if it's possible to run any other operating system on your iPhone, maybe, how to install Android on an iPhone or Linux for iPhones? Android phones can be rooted, and iPhones can be jailbroken to unlock new features, but so far, it's been close to impossible to get Android running on iPhones, given the mobile device hardware constraints and software limitations. However, it's now possible to smoothly run Android on an iPhone—thanks to a new initiative, dubbed Project Sandcastle . Undertaken by cybersecurity startup Corellium , Project Sandcastle is the consequence of a 13-year-long developmental effort to port Android to iOS and as well as demonstrate that Apple's much-vaunted security barriers can indeed be compromised. "Where sandboxes set limits and boundaries, sandcastles provide an opportunity to create something new from the limitless bounds of your imagination," the project website says. "T
New Mac Malware Exploits GateKeeper Bypass Bug that Apple Left Unpatched

New Mac Malware Exploits GateKeeper Bypass Bug that Apple Left Unpatched

June 25, 2019Mohit Kumar
Cybersecurity researchers from Intego are warning about possible active exploitation of an unpatched security vulnerability in Apple's macOS Gatekeeper security feature details and PoC for which were publicly disclosed late last month. Intego team last week discovered four samples of new macOS malware on VirusTotal that leverage the GateKeeper bypass vulnerability to execute untrusted code on macOS without displaying users any warning or asking for their explicit permission. However, the newly discovered malware, dubbed OSX/Linker , has not been seen in the wild as of now and appears to be under development. Though the samples leverage unpatched Gatekeeper bypass flaw, it does not download any malicious app from the attacker's server. According to Joshua Long from Intego, until last week, the "malware maker was merely conducting some detection testing reconnaissance." "One of the files was signed with an Apple Developer ID (as explained below), it is
Google Discloses Unpatched 'High-Severity' Flaw in Apple macOS Kernel

Google Discloses Unpatched 'High-Severity' Flaw in Apple macOS Kernel

March 04, 2019Mohit Kumar
Cybersecurity researcher at Google's Project Zero division has publicly disclosed details and proof-of-concept exploit of a high-severity security vulnerability in macOS operating system after Apple failed to release a patch within 90 days of being notified. Discovered by Project Zero researcher Jann Horn and demonstrated by Ian Beer, the vulnerability resides in the way macOS XNU kernel allows an attacker to manipulate filesystem images without informing the operating system. The flaw could eventually allow an attacker or a malicious program to bypass the copy-on-write (COW) functionality to cause unexpected changes in the memory shared between processes, leading to memory corruption attacks. Copy-On-Write, also referred to as COW, is a resource-management optimization strategy used in computer programming. In general, if any process (destination) requires a file or data that is already in the memory but created by another process (source), both processes can share the
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