Project Zero


'Project Zero' Articles

Google Outlines iPhone Vulnerabilities That Let Malicious Websites Steal User Data for Years, Now Fixed

Google's Project Zero published a blog post this week about a previous security threat wherein malicious websites quietly hacked into the victim's iPhone. This small collection of hacked websites were used in what was described as "indiscriminate" attacks against unsuspecting visitors for years, but the threat has been addressed by Apple. If the attacks were successful, a monitoring implant would be installed on the targeted ‌iPhone‌, able to steal private data including messages, photos, and GPS location in real time. Google estimated that thousands of visitors headed to these websites per week over the course of two years, and that iOS versions ranging from iOS 10 to iOS 12 were exploited. There was no target discrimination; simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant. We estimate that these sites receive thousands of visitors per week. TAG was able to collect five separate, complete and unique ‌iPhone‌ exploit chains, covering almost every version from iOS 10 through to the latest version of iOS 12. This indicated a group making a sustained effort to hack the users of iPhones in certain communities over a period of at least two years. Project Zero discovered exploits for a total of 14 vulnerabilities in iOS, seven for Safari, five for the kernel, and two separate sandbox escapes. The team reported these findings to Apple in February, and Apple's release of iOS 12.1.4 that same month addressed the issues. Google's deep dive into the iOS exploit can be read on

Google Relaxes Project Zero Bug Disclosure Policy

Google's security team Project Zero recently announced some changes to its bug disclosure policy after controversially exposing Apple and Microsoft security flaws when the companies failed to meet the 90-day deadline. The new disclosure deadline has a 14-day grace period and excludes weekends and public holidays, providing tech companies with more time to properly address security vulnerabilities in their software."We now have a 14-day grace period. If a 90-day deadline will expire but a vendor lets us know before the deadline that a patch is scheduled for release on a specific day within 14 days following the deadline, the public disclosure will be delayed until the availability of the patch."Project Zero is a security team consisting of experienced programmers that look through the code of Google and several of its competitors to discover security flaws, like those uncovered in OS X Yosemite back in January. The team immediately discloses any vulnerabilities found to vendors, providing them with a 90-day deadline to release a software patch before sharing the vulnerabilities with the public. The role of Google playing security watchdog for other companies has been the subject of much debate, with some believing that the company has a disingenuous agenda and others claiming that it is taking appropriate action. Google claims that it holds itself to the same 90-day policy it enforces on other tech companies, with bugs in the pipeline for Chrome and Android that are subject to the same deadline

Apple's OS X 10.10.2 to Fix Security Vulnerabilities Exposed by Google's Project Zero

Google's security team, Project Zero, this week disclosed to the public several security vulnerabilities in OS X, some three months after the issue were shared with Apple (via Ars Technica). While Apple has not commented officially on the issues, it appears one has already been patched and iMore reports the remaining two are fixed in OS X 10.10.2, which is currently in developer testing. Project Zero works to discover security vulnerabilities of various operating systems and software, giving their owners 90 days notice to patch the issues before publishing their findings to the public. In their markup of Apple's OS X, problems involving memory corruption, kernel code execution, and a sandbox escape were all discovered by the team. Ars Technica notes:At first glance, none of them appear to be highly critical, since all three appear to require the attacker to already have some access to a targeted machine. [...] Still, the exploits could be combined with a separate attack to elevate lower-level privileges and gain control over vulnerable Macs. And since the disclosures contain proof-of-concept exploit code, they provide enough technical detail for experienced hackers to write malicious attacks that target the previously unknown vulnerabilities.As the 90-day deadline hit during the week, the group began posting its findings online. Google's notes suggest one of the vulnerabilities was fixed with the release of OS X Yosemite, while the other two remained unaddressed. But as pointed out by iMore, Apple's incoming OS X 10.10.2 update does indeed include fixes for the