New OS X 10.10.5 Privilege Escalation Vulnerability Discovered

by

Just days after Apple patched the DYLD_PRINT_TO_FILE security hole with the release of OS X 10.10.5, a developer has found a similar unpatched exploit that could allow attackers to gain root-level access to a Mac.

Luca Todesco shared information (via AppleInsider) on the "tpwn" exploit on GitHub over the weekend. It affects all versions of OS X Yosemite, including OS X 10.10.5, but does not affect OS X El Capitan.

tpwnvulnerability
Todesco did not give Apple a heads up on the vulnerability before sharing it publicly, so it is not clear when Apple will release a patch for machines running OS X Yosemite. As noted by AppleInsider, it is standard procedure (and a courtesy) for security researchers and developers to provide Apple with details on vulnerabilities before publicizing them to prevent hackers from using security holes for nefarious purposes.

According to Todesco, who has also shared what he says is a third-party fix, releasing details on the exploit is no different than releasing an iOS jailbreak, but as Engadget explains, Todesco's actions have the potential to be somewhat more harmful than a jailbreak.

Those are technically true, but they downplay the practical dangers of publishing this info. Many people aren't knowledgeable enough to try third-party safeguards or deal with the possible side effects, and jailbreaks are at least intended for semi-innocuous purposes. A 'surprise' exploit for the Mac only really serves to give attackers time that they wouldn't otherwise have.

It took Apple less than a month to release OS X 10.10.5 to fix the DYLD_PRINT_TO_ACCESS vulnerability after it was first publicized, but during the time between its discovery and the launch of the fix, an exploit using the vulnerability was discovered in the wild.

Ahead of a fix for this latest vulnerability, OS X Yosemite users can protect themselves by downloading apps solely from the Mac App Store and from trusted developers.

Top Rated Comments

pepan Avatar
71 months ago

I read somewhere that he only gave Apple a few hour's notice before releasing it. He's a scumbag. And I have to say that the writer of this article is sort of a scumbag if that screenshot is the code for the vulnerability (If this is true, sorry Juli).

The screenshot is just a proof that compiling some code and running it works. However, not giving a company any chance to release a fix is something only a complete jerk would do.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rigby Avatar
71 months ago

The screenshot is just a proof that compiling some code and running it works. However, not giving a company any chance to release a fix is something only a complete jerk would do.

Perhaps he had good reasons for doing this. For example, he might have evidence that the bug is already being exploited. If true, people can immdiately use the third-party fix he pointed to rather than waiting around for Apple to fix it. After all, they sometimes takes their sweet time ('http://krebsonsecurity.com/2011/11/apple-took-3-years-to-fix-finfisher-trojan-hole/') ...

Also, I think his comparison to jailbreaks is apt. Essentially whenever a jailbreak is released, the jailbreakers publish privilege escalation bugs and a nice demo on how to exploit them.

Finally, one should keep in mind that he could just as well have sold the exploit on the black market for a fat check instead of just publishing it and then getting called "complete jerk" as a reward ...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bradl Avatar
71 months ago

Front page news, surely?

Seems that it is now a race between Apple and malware writers make use of this information.

Again, this isn't of much use unless the attacker has physical or network access to your Mac. That isn't to say that this isn't any less of a vulnerability than those they've fixed, but this one also isn't something that someone can target a Mac with remotely, and instantly have root access.

tl;dr: a lot of variables have to fall into place at the right time for this to have any major impact to a single machine.

BL.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bradl Avatar
71 months ago

I read somewhere that he only gave Apple a few hour's notice before releasing it. He's a scumbag. And I have to say that the writer of this article is sort of a scumbag if that screenshot is the code for the vulnerability (If this is true, sorry Juli).

close.. the screenshot is of the code being compiled by a non-root user and executed by the non-root user, showing how the privileges are escalated to become root.

Doesn't take away the fact that the guy was an idiot for releasing this the way he did.

Funnily enough, @i0n1c has a patch that can be applied to this.

BL.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mijail Avatar
71 months ago

That may be true, but developers have a set of ethics (s)he should abide by.

If you want to assign developers ethics, then I guess you should start by mentioning the OS developers' ethics (meaning, Apple's). Apple:

* doesn't offer bug bounties
* sometimes doesn't even react to the bug reports
* when there's a reaction it uses to take months or more (and still some people praise them!?)
* doesn't always acknowledge the bug reporter
* doesn't EVEN make it easy to report and track bugs

So, again, what developer ethics are you talking about?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gmanist1000 Avatar
71 months ago

Note that this won't be patched AT ALL until AFTER El Capitan is released most likely.

10.10.5 is the final main update to Yosemite from what I heard via Apple Developer Support. They are soley focused on El Capitan from here on out.

That may change though (because this is Apple under Tim Cook. Anything can happen) Apple might still patch this via supplemental update.

They can easily just patch it with a security update, no need for 10.10.6 or anything like that.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

lg wing

LG Considering Exit From Smartphone Business, Halts LCD Production for iPhone

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:38 am PST by
LG is considering exiting the smartphone business entirely amid declining shipments and accrued losses of $4.5 billion over the past five years (via The Korea Herald). LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok cautioned staff earlier today that the company is re-evaluating its presence in the smartphone industry: Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about...
2019 mac pro side and front

Tim Cook Gifted Donald Trump 'First' 2019 Mac Pro

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:45 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted former United States President Donald Trump with the first 2019 Mac Pro that came off of the assembly line in Austin, Texas, according to a financial disclosure report that was released today (via The Verge). "Mac Pro Computer, the first created at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas," reads the entry, which values the machine at $5,999, the base price for a Mac Pro....
Apple VR Feature

Bloomberg: Apple's First AR/VR Headset 'Pricey, Niche Precursor' to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

Thursday January 21, 2021 3:27 am PST by
Apple's first virtual reality headset will be a "pricey, niche precursor" to a more ambitious augmented reality product, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view...
Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
iOS 15 icon mock banner

iOS 15 Rumored to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and 2016 iPhone SE

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:58 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iOS 15 operating system, which we expect to see unveiled in June, is rumored to be dropping support for a few of Apple's older iPhones. According to French site iPhoneSoft, iOS 15 will not be able to be installed on the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus, or the 2016 iPhone SE, all of which have an A9 chip. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were introduced in 2015 and are now more...
iphone 12 vs iphone 12 mini

Apple Shifting Some Production From iPhone 12 mini to iPhone 12 Pro to Meet Demand

Wednesday January 20, 2021 8:12 am PST by
Apple has reportedly cut production of the iPhone 12 mini by two million units to create more manufacturing capacity for the iPhone 12 Pro, according to a new Morgan Stanley investment note seen by PED30. Apple is believed to have made the switch for the first quarter of 2021 in an effort to combat continuing lead times for the more popular iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 12 Pro lead times remain ...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...
maxresdefault

Video Demos macOS Catalina Running on iPad Pro via x86 Emulation

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:36 am PST by
A video demonstrating macOS Catalina running on a current 2020 iPad Pro has been shared on YouTube, giving us a look at an interesting hack that has a Mac OS up and working on one of Apple's iPads. There's limited information about how the process of getting macOS Catalina on an iPad Pro works, but it uses x86 emulation and was done through the UTM software that allows virtual machines to...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 Release Candidate to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Thursday January 21, 2021 10:14 am PST by
Apple today seeded the RC version of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a week after Apple released the second betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
iPhone OIS Feature2

Sensor-Shift Camera Stabilization Rumored to Expand to Entire iPhone 13 Lineup

Wednesday January 20, 2021 7:46 am PST by
The entire iPhone 13 lineup will feature sensor-shift optical image stabilization, compared to only the iPhone 12 Pro Max among current models, according to a brief story preview shared today by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. "Apple's next-generation iPhones slated for launch in the second half of 2021 will all come with sensor-shift stabilization technology, according to industry...