WikiLeaks Publishes New 'Vault 7' Exploits Tested on Older Macs Running Snow Leopard and Lion

by

Earlier in March, WikiLeaks began "Vault 7," a project focused on sharing exploits created and used by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, beginning with leaking 8,761 documents discovered within an isolated network in Langley, Virginia. Following the release of iOS-related documents, as well as some Mac exploits, Vault 7's publications didn't specifically include Apple products for much of the year.

Now, the leakers have shared two new exploits that are said to have been created under the codenamed "Imperial" project by the CIA. The first is called "Achilles," and WikiLeaks said it allows an operator to trojan a disk image installer on a Mac computer, giving the operator "one or more desired...executables" for a one-time execution. This means that a .dmg file could be downloaded by a user, containing malicious content, and dragged into their application directory without knowing.


In the Achilles user guide, it's explained that the trojaned .dmg file would behave similarly to the original file, and that all of the operator's intended executables would run the first time the app is launched. Afterwards, all traces of Achilles would be "removed securely" from the .app file and that file would "exactly resemble" the original, un-trojaned application. Achilles was only tested on OS X 10.6, which is Apple's Snow Leopard operating system that launched in 2009.

Achilles is a capability that provides an operator the ability to trojan an OS X disk image (.dmg) installer with one or more desired operator specified executables for a one-time execution.

The second exploit is called "SeaPea," and is described as a Rootkit for OS X that provides an operator with "stealth and tool launching capabilities." SeaPea hides files and directories, socket connections, and processes from the user, allowing the operator to access a Mac computer without their presence being known.

SeaPea was tested on Macs running both OS X 10.6 and OS X 10.7 (Lion), and requires root access to be installed on the Mac in question. The vulnerability would remain on the computer until the hard drive was reformatted or the user upgraded to the next major OS version.

SeaPea is an OS X Rootkit that provides stealth and tool launching capabilities. It hides files/directories, socket connections and/or processes. It runs on Mac OSX 10.6 and 10.7.

Among the Imperial documents is an automated implant for Windows devices called Aeris, which rounds out all of the leaked CIA files published by WikiLeaks today. Another Vault 7 release earlier this summer focused on the use of modified versions of router firmware to turn networking devices into surveillance tools, called "Cherry Blossom."

Due to the older Mac software used for testing Achilles and SeaPea, it's likely that such exploits have already been addressed by Apple in the numerous updates that have been released since Snow Leopard in 2009 and Lion in 2011. The previous vulnerabilities leaked by WikiLeaks in March were quickly addressed by Apple, which said that it had fixed the "alleged" vulnerabilities in iPhone 3G devices (called "NightSkies") back in 2009, and the Sonic Screwdriver Mac exploit in all Macs released after 2013.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
40 months ago
Guess all those Snow Leopard fanatics are going to have to finally upgrade... ;)
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
I don't understand how Americans let alone the rest of the world are not up in arms about these state funded programs..
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
Funny that this article doesn’t have the “Due to the political nature...” “warning” and restrictions but far less political and controversial ones often do.

I don’t believe all this secrecy is ultimately benefial or worth the risks to privacy and misuse.

The code name “Imperial” says it all. Our governments think they’re imperial masters/overloads and we are subjugated like pawns to them.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

I don't understand how Americans let alone the rest of the world are not up in arms about these state funded programs..

Agreed.

Because the same state funded programs pay "influencers' all over the internet to scream "conspiracy theory" when this stuff gets released.

Simple.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

In the Achilles user guide, ...

It's a bad state of affairs when a piece of government spyware is more user-friendly than the majority of applications out there.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

Guess all those Snow Leopard fanatics are going to have to finally upgrade... ;)

Lol, not a chance!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

Apple Seeds First Public Beta of watchOS 7 to Public Beta Testers

Monday August 10, 2020 10:33 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public beta of an upcoming watchOS 7 update to public beta testers, one week after seeding the fourth beta to developers and a month and a half after the Worldwide Developers Conference. The update can be downloaded after installing the proper profile from Apple's Public Beta website. watchOS 7 should not be installed on a primary device as it is still an early...

Apple Watch Likely to Adopt MicroLED Display Technology in 3-4 Years

Monday August 10, 2020 2:55 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to feature an OLED screen like previous models, but a future model is likely to be the first Apple product to adopt MicroLED display technology, albeit not for another three to four years. That's the main takeaway reading between the lines of comments made by the chairman of Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, which is reportedly working on a...

Parallels Desktop 16 Brings macOS Big Sur Support, Multi-Touch Gestures, 20% Faster DirectX, and More

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:17 am PDT by
Parallels Desktop 16 released today, bringing some notable new features and performance enhancements to the virtualization software, including full support for macOS Big Sur. When Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, it ended support for the third-party kernel extensions that previous versions of Parallels were built on. That forced the developers to re-engineer the virtualization software from the ...