Apple Head of Security Engineering to Speak About iOS and Mac Security at 2019 Black Hat Event

Thursday June 27, 2019 10:02 AM PDT by Juli Clover

Apple's Head of Security Engineering and Architecture Ivan Krstić will be attending the Black Hat 2019 event where he will give a "Behind the Scenes" look at iOS and macOS security.

Black Hat is an annual event that's designed for the global InfoSec community, providing security professionals with a place to meet up and gain training on new techniques.


According to the webpage for the upcoming event, Krstić will be covering "several key technologies" new to iOS 13 and the Mac, including Pointer Authentication Codes in Apple's latest iPhone chips, the T2 security chip in Macs, and the cryptography behind the Find My feature in ‌iOS 13‌ and macOS Catalina.

Code integrity enforcement has long been a critical part of the iOS security architecture. Starting with ‌iPhone‌ 7, we began to fortify core pieces of this security mechanism with new features built directly into Apple silicon. We will delve into the history of code and memory integrity technologies in the iOS kernel and userland, culminating in Pointer Authentication Codes (PAC) in the Apple A12 Bionic and S4 chips. PAC prohibits modification of function pointers, return addresses and certain data, preventing traditional exploitation of memory corruption bugs. We will take a close look at how PAC is implemented, including improvements in ‌iOS 13‌. We will also discuss previously-undisclosed VM permission and page protection technologies that are part of our overall iOS code integrity architecture.

The T2 Security Chip brought powerful secure boot capabilities to the Mac. Comprehensively securing the boot process required protections against sophisticated direct memory access (DMA) attacks at every point, even in the presence of arbitrary Option ROM firmware. We will walk through the boot sequence of a Mac with the T2 Security Chip and explain key attacks and defenses at each step, including two industry-first firmware security technologies that have not been publicly discussed before.

The ‌Find My‌ feature in ‌iOS 13‌ and ‌macOS Catalina‌ enables users to receive help from other nearby Apple devices in finding their lost Macs, while rigorously protecting the privacy of all participants. We will discuss our efficient elliptic curve key diversification system that derives short non-linkable public keys from a user's keypair, and allows users to find their offline devices without divulging sensitive information to Apple.

The 2019 Black Hat event will take place from August 3 to August 8 at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Krstić has hosted similar talks in the past, including a look at new features in iOS 10 back in 2016.

Top Rated Comments

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10 months ago
Apple's Head of Security Engineering and Architecture Ivan Krstic announces the Mac OS bounty program at the Black Hat 2019... that would be a pretty kick ass headline.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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10 months ago

Does he attend every year? If not, he might in fact introduce a bounty program for the Mac after his “presentation”.

I have no idea. I have never heard of this guy. Apple should have a bounty program for Macs. There's really no reason for it not to exist.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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10 months ago
Will watch 100%. Will understand 25% at best.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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10 months ago
Ever heard of Ivan Krsti? No, I haven't either.. What's his name again? Ivan Krstić. A tip, copy his name off of Wikipedia, insert the last name into TextEdit - Convert to Plain text - copy paste into MacRumors and make everyone believe you have the upperhand.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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