macOS Big Sur 11.2 Beta 2 Removes Feature Letting Apple Apps Bypass Third-Party Firewalls and VPNs

macOS Big Sur 11.2 beta 2, which was released yesterday, eliminates a feature that allowed Apple apps bypass third-party firewalls, security tools, and VPN apps, according to reports from ZDNet and security researcher Patrick Wardle.

First Look Big Sur Feature2
macOS Big Sur 11 included a ContentFilterExclusionList that let Apple's apps like the App Store, Maps, iCloud, and more to avoid firewall and VPN apps that users had installed. These apps were not able to filter or inspect traffic for some built-in Apple apps.

Security researchers believed that the feature, found last October, was a major security risk as malware could be designed to latch on to a legitimate Apple app and bypass security software. Users who had VPNs installed also risked exposing their real IP address and location to Apple's apps.


Apple told ZDNet last year that the list was temporary and the result of a series of bugs related to the deprecation of network kernel extensions in macOS Big Sur. Apple has been addressing those bugs, and in the second beta of macOS Big Sur released yesterday, removed the ContentFilterExclusionList from the macOS code.

When macOS Big Sur 11.2 sees a release, Apple apps will be compatible with VPN apps and will no longer be able to bypass firewalls and other security tools.

Related Forum: macOS Big Sur

Popular Stories

iPhone SE 4 Vertical Camera Feature

iPhone SE 4 Rumored to Use Same Rear Chassis as iPhone 16

Friday July 19, 2024 7:16 am PDT by
Apple will adopt the same rear chassis manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 that it is using for the upcoming standard iPhone 16, claims a new rumor coming out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker "Fixed Focus Digital," the backplate manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 is "exactly the same" as the standard model in Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 lineup, which is expected to...
iPhone 16 Pro Sizes Feature

iPhone 16 Series Is Just Two Months Away: Everything We Know

Monday July 15, 2024 4:44 am PDT by
Apple typically releases its new iPhone series around mid-September, which means we are about two months out from the launch of the iPhone 16. Like the iPhone 15 series, this year's lineup is expected to stick with four models – iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max – although there are plenty of design differences and new features to take into account. To bring ...
iphone 14 lineup

Cellebrite Unable to Unlock iPhones on iOS 17.4 or Later, Leak Reveals

Thursday July 18, 2024 4:18 am PDT by
Israel-based mobile forensics company Cellebrite is unable to unlock iPhones running iOS 17.4 or later, according to leaked documents verified by 404 Media. The documents provide a rare glimpse into the capabilities of the company's mobile forensics tools and highlight the ongoing security improvements in Apple's latest devices. The leaked "Cellebrite iOS Support Matrix" obtained by 404 Media...
tinypod apple watch

TinyPod Turns Your Apple Watch Into an iPod

Wednesday July 17, 2024 3:18 pm PDT by
If you have an old Apple Watch and you're not sure what to do with it, a new product called TinyPod might be the answer. Priced at $79, the TinyPod is a silicone case with a built-in scroll wheel that houses the Apple Watch chassis. When an Apple Watch is placed inside the TinyPod, the click wheel on the case is able to be used to scroll through the Apple Watch interface. The feature works...
bsod

Crowdstrike Says Global IT Outage Impacting Windows PCs, But Mac and Linux Hosts Not Affected

Friday July 19, 2024 3:12 am PDT by
A widespread system failure is currently affecting numerous Windows devices globally, causing critical boot failures across various industries, including banks, rail networks, airlines, retailers, broadcasters, healthcare, and many more sectors. The issue, manifesting as a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), is preventing computers from starting up properly and forcing them into continuous recovery...
New MacBook Pros Launching Tomorrow With These 4 New Features 2

M5 MacBook Models to Use New Compact Camera Module in 2025

Wednesday July 17, 2024 2:58 am PDT by
Apple in 2025 will take on a new compact camera module (CCM) supplier for future MacBook models powered by its next-generation M5 chip, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Writing in his latest investor note on unny-opticals-2025-business-momentum-to-benefit-509819818c2a">Medium, Kuo said Apple will turn to Sunny Optical for the CCM in its M5 MacBooks. The Chinese optical lens company...

Top Rated Comments

hortod1 Avatar
46 months ago
The older I get the more this might as well be a foreign language

<sigh>
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sideshowuniqueuser Avatar
46 months ago
'We have another candidate for our "Is This A Feature Or Is This A Bug?" bingo.'

Ha ha that cracks me up!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BWhaler Avatar
46 months ago
It should have always been this way, but I’m pleased Apple is making the appropriately change quickly. Thank you.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chucker23n1 Avatar
46 months ago

The older I get the more this might as well be a foreign language

<sigh>
Apple recently started requiring third party software who want to control network traffic (such as firewalls) to intercept it a different way. They documented and explained the new way, and it's been mostly fine. However, they then exempted some of their own software from this new way.

A security researcher example: they want to observe how an app communicates with the network, how its behavior changes when they limit some of that communication, etc. They weren't able to do that with some of Apple's apps. For example, if App Store or Find My had a security bug related to network communication, they would have a hard time finding out. Not only can they not control the traffic from those services, they can't even see it.

A more general-purpose example: you're on cellular (or some other metered connection), and use an app like Trip Mode to limit data usage. Well, you can't see the data some of Apple's stuff uses. App Store or Software Update download a large update in the background? Trip Mode won't be able to tell you.

There were probably some reasons Apple did all this in the first place (for example, one might argue that macOS needs to be able to download updates to Xprotect malware definitions no matter what), but there's also a fair bit of hubris involved. It feels like once they did decide to make that exemption list, all kinds of software teams internally signed up to be added, and that's just opening the floodgates for trouble.

Anyway, all this, it appears, is now resolved.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
-BigMac- Avatar
46 months ago
Apple allowed to bypass firewalls/security software?

What an unfortunate “bug” this mustve been for Apple before it was found ;)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
46 months ago

Excellent news - been aching to move to Big Sur (love the place - LOL) but holding back until VPN's would function there (plus other Objective see tools) - wife is itching to do so for work and will do so as soon as the update to 11.2 is out.
SurfShark is the only brand name VPN I have seen with Silicon support thus far. Nord and PIA are dragging their software heels.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)