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How to Use Secure Code AutoFill in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave

Most readers will have at some point received a two-factor authentication code delivered to them by SMS text message. Many apps and websites send the one-time codes to confirm that the person attempting to log in to an account is the legitimate account holder, and not just someone using a stolen password. Depending on how notifications are set up on your iPhone, receiving a code via text message may mean that you have to switch out from the app or website to read the message and memorize or copy the code, and then switch back to paste it or type it into the login screen manually. To make this process less of a hassle, Apple is introducing Security Code AutoFill for iOS 12. The new feature ensures that SMS one-time passcodes that you receive instantly appear as AutoFill suggestions in the QuickType bar above the virtual keyboard, letting you input them in the passcode field with a simple tap. If you've enabled Text Message Forwarding on your iPhone, you can use the Secure Code AutoFill feature in macOS Mojave, too. The code should appear in Safari as an AutoFill option in the relevant field as soon as the SMS is delivered to Messages on your Mac. iOS and macOS use local data detector heuristics to work out whether an incoming message carries a security code, and Apple says the Security Code AutoFill feature does not alter the security of this two-factor authentication method. So as long as developers craft their secure code text messages correctly, Security Code AutoFill should work in all third-party apps updated for iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, which are

How to Secure Your Apple ID Using Two-Factor Authentication

Apple introduced two-factor authentication (2FA) in 2015 to provide an enhanced level of security when accessing Apple ID accounts. With 2FA enabled, you'll be the only person who can access your account, regardless of whether someone learns your password – as the result of a hack or a phishing scam, for example – so it's well worth taking the time to enable the feature. In this article, we'll show you how. How Two-Factor Authentication Works 2FA offers hardened security during login attempts by requesting that the user provides an extra piece of information only they would know. With 2FA enabled on your Apple ID account, the next time you try to log in you will be automatically sent a six-digit verification code to all the Apple devices you have registered to that Apple ID. If you try to access the account from an unknown device or on the web, 2FA also displays a map on all registered devices with an approximate location of where the Apple ID login attempt occurred. In basic terms, this is an improved version of Apple's older two-step verification method, which prompted users to send a four-digit code to a registered SMS-capable device. Apple automatically upgraded most two-step verification users to 2FA as of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, but if you're still on two-step verification for some reason, follow the steps below to manually upgrade to 2FA. How to Turn Off Two-Step Verification Open a browser and go to appleid.apple.com Enter your Apple ID and password in the login fields. In the Security section of your account page, click the Edit

'security' Articles

Complex Passcode Bypass Method Exposes iPhone Contacts and Photos in iOS 12

A passcode bypass vulnerability has been discovered in iOS 12 that potentially allows an attacker to access photos and contact details on a locked iPhone. The rather convoluted bypass method was shared in a video by Jose Rodriguez, who has discovered iOS bugs in the past that Apple has subsequently fixed. With physical access to the locked device, the attacker first asks Siri to activate VoiceOver, sleeps the device with the Side button, and then calls the iPhone using another device. Once the call screen shows up, the attacker taps the Message button, opts to create a custom message, and then taps the plus (+) icon in the top right. Next, on the other phone, the attacker sends a text or iMessage to the target iPhone, whose screen is then double-tapped when the message notification appears. This causes an odd behavior in the UI, since it highlights the plus icon underneath. After a short wait, the screen goes white and the notification disappears, but the VoiceOver's text selection box is apparently still tappable and can now be used to access the Messages interface. Following multiple screen swipes, the VoiceOver is heard to say "Cancel," which reveals the original Messages screen. Adding a new recipient to the message and selecting a numeral from the virtual keyboard then reveals a list of recently dialed or received phone numbers and contacts. Further, if one of the numbers or contacts includes an info ("i") button, disabling VoiceOver and tapping the button shows the contact's information. Performing a 3D Touch action on the contact also brings

British Airways Website and Mobile App Suffer Huge Customer Data Breach

British Airways says it is investigating the theft of customer data from its website and mobile app over a two-week period, during which 380,000 payment cards were exposed (via The Guardian). "From 22:58 BST August 21 2018 until 21:45 BST September 5 2018 inclusive, the personal and financial details of customers making bookings on our website and app were compromised," the airline revealed in a statement on its website.According to BA, travel and passport information was not accessed during the data breach, but concerned customers are being advised to get in touch with their card issuers in the first instance. The company said all customers affected by the breach had been contacted on Thursday night. "British Airways is communicating with affected customers and we advise any customers who believe they may have been affected by this incident to contact their banks or credit card providers and follow their recommended advice."The airline said it was informed of the hacking by a third party, which is why it was able to continue undetected for two weeks, but the company insists that the breach has been resolved and its website and mobile app are now working

Security Researcher Shows How Remote macOS Exploit Hoodwinks Safari Users With Custom URL Schemes

A security researcher has demonstrated how macOS users are vulnerable to remote infection through a malicious exploit involving the "Do you want to allow..." popup that can be encountered when visiting websites in Safari. In a lengthy breakdown, Patrick Wardle explains how the exploit utilizes document handlers, which request permission to open a link or a file in another app – like a PDF in Preview, for example – and URL handlers, which work similarly in the way they notify macOS that they can accept certain file formats. The exploit occurs when a user visits a malicious website and a ZIP file is downloaded and automatically unzipped by Safari, whereby the custom URL scheme is initially registered on the user's filesystem. Once the target visits our malicious website, we trigger the download of an archive (.zip) file that contains our malicious application. If the Mac user is using Safari, the archive will be automatically unzipped, as Apple thinks it's wise to automatically open "safe" files. This fact is paramount, as it means the malicious application (vs. just a compressed zip archive) will now be on the user's filesystem, which will trigger the registration of any custom URL scheme handlers! Thanks Apple!In the next stage, the malicious web page runs code that can load or "browse" to the custom URL scheme, which causes macOS to activate the URL handler and launch the malicious application. This action is enabled through the Safari user prompt that includes options to "Allow" or "Cancel" the process, however the popup text and available options are

Timehop Service Suffers Data Breach Affecting 21 Million Users [Updated]

The company behind social media app Timehop has revealed its servers suffered a data breach in which the personal details of around 21 million users were stolen. The company, whose service integrates with users' social media accounts to display photos and memories they may have forgotten about, said it became aware of the attack as it was happening in the early hours of July 4. In a statement published on Saturday, the company said it was able to shut down its cloud servers two hours and twenty minutes into the attack, but not before a significant number of users' data was stolen. Hackers made off with the names and emails of 21 million users and the phone numbers of 4.7 million users, but no private/direct messages, financial data, social media, photo content, or Timehop data including streaks were affected, according to the company. However, the keys that enable the service to read and send social media content to users were compromised in the breach. Timehop has deactivated the keys as a security measure, but that means users will need to re-enable the app's permission to access their accounts if they want to continue using the service. While we investigate, we want to stress two things: First: to date, there has been no evidence of, and no confirmed reports of, any unauthorized access of user data through the use of these access tokens. Second, we want to be clear that these tokens do not give anyone (including Timehop) access to Facebook Messenger, or Direct Messages on Twitter or Instagram, or things that your friends post to your Facebook wall. In

ElcomSoft's Latest Tool Can Allegedly Access iMessages in iCloud, But Only in Extreme Circumstances

Russian company ElcomSoft today claimed that the latest version of its Phone Breaker software can remotely access iMessage conversation histories stored in iCloud, although there are several strings attached. Namely, the person attempting to extract iMessages from an iCloud account would need the following before being able to do so:Elcomsoft Phone Breaker version 8.3 The associated Apple ID email and password for the iCloud account The passcode, if an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, or system password, if a Mac, of at least one device on the account enrolled in Messages in iCloud, which requires iOS 11.4 and macOS 10.13.5 or later Access to a two-factor authentication method, such as a trusted secondary device, which may or may not have the same passcode or system password, or a SIM card for a phone number that has been authorized to receive one-time verification codes via SMSIt's worth noting that if the perpetrator has obtained physical access to at least one of your trusted secondary devices, and its passcode, they would be able to read at least part of your iMessage history regardless by simply opening the Messages app. Apple obviously cares very deeply about the security of its customers, but if a bad actor has gained access to another person's Apple ID credentials, your passcode, and at least one of your Apple devices, or your SIM card, there arguably isn't really much the company can do at that point to protect you. That's why it's so important, as Apple routinely stresses, to set a strong password for your Apple ID, not share that password with others, e

Third-Party macOS Security Tools Vulnerable to Malware Code-Signing Bypasses for Years

Hackers have had an "easy way" to get certain malware past signature checks in third-party security tools since Apple's OS X Leopard operating system in 2007, according to a detailed new report today by Ars Technica. Researchers discovered that hackers could essentially trick the security tools -- designed to sniff out suspiciously signed software -- into thinking the malware was officially signed by Apple while they in fact hid malicious software. The researchers said that the signature bypassing method is so "easy" and "trivial" that pretty much any hacker who discovered it could pass off malicious code as an app that appeared to be signed by Apple. These digital signatures are core security functions that let users know the app in question was signed with the private key of a trusted party, like Apple does with its first-party apps. Joshua Pitts, senior penetration testing engineer for security firm Okta, said he discovered the technique in February and informed Apple and the third-party developers about it soon after. Okta today also published information about the bypass, including a detailed disclosure timeline that began on February 22 with a report submitted to Apple and continues to today's public disclosure. Ars Technica broke down how the method was used and which third-party tools are affected: The technique worked using a binary format, alternatively known as a Fat or Universal file, that contained several files that were written for different CPUs used in Macs over the years, such as i386, x86_64, or PPC. Only the first so-called Mach-O file in

Thousands of Apple ID Passwords Leaked by Teen Phone Monitoring App Server

ZDNet reports that a server used by an app for parents to monitor their teenagers' phone activity has leaked tens of thousands of login credentials, including the Apple IDs of children. The leaked data belonged to customers of TeenSafe, a "secure" monitoring app for iOS and Android that allows parents to view their child's text messages and location, call history, web browsing history, and installed apps. The customer database was reportedly stored on two servers hosted by Amazon Web Services, where it remained unprotected and accessible without a password. The discovery was made by a U.K.-based security researcher specializing in public and exposed data, and the servers were only taken offline after ZDNet alerted the California-based company responsible for the TeenSafe app. "We have taken action to close one of our servers to the public and begun alerting customers that could potentially be impacted," said a TeenSafe spokesperson told ZDNet on Sunday. The information in the exposed database included the email addresses of parents who used TeenSafe, the Apple ID email addresses of their children, and children's device name and unique identifier. Plaintext passwords for the children's Apple ID were also among the data set, despite claims on the company's website that it uses encryption to protect customer data. Compounding the lax security is the app's requirement that two-factor authentication is turned off for the child's Apple account so that parents can monitor the phone without consent. This means a malicious actor could potentially access a child's

LocationSmart Bug Provided Easy Access to Real-Time Location Data of Millions of Phones

Robert Xiao, a computer science student at Carnegie Mellon, recently discovered a vulnerability in LocationSmart's website that made the real-time location of millions of phones readily available to anyone with the knowhow. For background, LocationSmart is a company that collects location data of mobile customers from major carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the United States, and then sells it to other companies for a range of purposes, including compliance, cybersecurity, and proximity marketing. Up until the vulnerability was discovered, LocationSmart offered a trial webpage that allowed anyone to enter their phone number, confirm the request via SMS or a phone call, and view their approximate real-time location. LocationSmart's since-removed trial page via Krebs on Security The problem, as Xiao discovered, was that the webpage had a bug that allowed anyone with the technical skills to bypass the phone number verification process and view the real-time location of any subscriber to most major carriers in the United States, in addition to Bell, Rogers, and Telus in Canada. In a blog post, Xiao said the bug essentially involves requesting the location data in JSON format, instead of the default XML format:If you make the same request with requesttype=locreq.json, you get the full location data, without receiving consent. This is the heart of the bug. Essentially, this requests the location data in JSON format, instead of the default XML format. For some reason, this also suppresses the consent (“subscription”) check.Upon discovering

Researchers Discover Vulnerabilities in PGP/GPG Email Encryption Plugins, Users Advised to Avoid for Now

A warning has been issued by European security researchers about critical vulnerabilities discovered in PGP/GPG and S/MIME email encryption software that could reveal the plaintext of encrypted emails, including encrypted messages sent in the past. The alert was put out late on Sunday night by professor of computer security Sebastian Schinzel. A joint research paper, due to be published tomorrow at 07:00 a.m. UTC (3:00 a.m. Eastern Time, 12:00 am Pacific) promises to offer a thorough explanation of the vulnerabilities, for which there are currently no reliable fixes. There are currently no reliable fixes for the vulnerability. If you use PGP/GPG or S/MIME for very sensitive communication, you should disable it in your email client for now. Also read @EFF’s blog post on this issue: https://t.co/zJh2YHhE5q #efail 2/4— Sebastian Schinzel (@seecurity) May 14, 2018 Details remain vague about the so-called "Efail" exploit, but it appears to involve an attack vector on the encryption implementation in the client software as it processes HTML, rather than a vulnerability in the encryption method itself. A blog post published late Sunday night by the Electronic Frontier Foundation said:"EFF has been in communication with the research team, and can confirm that these vulnerabilities pose an immediate risk to those using these tools for email communication, including the potential exposure of the contents of past messages."In the meantime, users of PGP/GPG and S/MIME are being advised to immediately disable and/or uninstall tools that automatically decrypt PGP-encrypted

Russia Bans Access to Telegram Encrypted Messenger Service [Updated]

A Russian law court has ordered that access to the Telegram encrypted messaging service should be blocked, according to Russian news agencies on Friday (via Reuters). The development follows last week's news that Russia's media regulator had filed legal proceedings to block the app in the country because the company refused to enable state security services to access users' messages. The Telegram platform allows people to communicate with each other using end-to-end encryption, meaning no-one – not even Telegram – has access to messages sent between users. The app has over 200 million users globally. They include Kremlin staff, who use Telegram to coordinate conference calls with Vladimir Putin's spokesman. Many government officials also use the messenger app to communicate with media, according to Reuters. When Reuters asked a person in the Russian government on how they would operate without access to Telegram, the person, who asked not be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, replied by sending a screenshot of his mobile phone with an open VPN app.Telegram becomes the second global network after LinkedIn to be blocked in Russia. In 2016, a court found LinkedIn guilty of violating a law that requires companies holding Russian citizens' data to store it on servers within Russia. Update 04/17: The Russian government has formally requested that Apple remove Telegram from its regional App Store in the country, reports Reuters. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics,

'ProtonMail Bridge' Brings Encryption to Outlook, Thunderbird, and Apple Mail

Swiss-based encrypted email provider ProtonMail today announced Bridge, an app for premium account holders that aims to bring easy-to-use email encryption to desktop email clients like Outlook, Thunderbird, and Apple Mail. One of our goals has always been to bring easy-to-use encrypted email to desktop. The problem is formidable. Desktop systems encompass multiple operating systems with dozens of popular email clients with their own adherents, and virtually none of them natively speak PGP, the email encryption standard upon which ProtonMail is built. Around two years ago, we created a small task force to tackle this challenge. Today, we are finally ready to present ProtonMail Bridge.Basically, the downloadable Bridge app enables ProtonMail users to access their encrypted email accounts using their favorite email client, without compromising on the security provided by the end-to-end encrypted service, and without needing to modify their email application. At the same time, local copies of the emails are stored on the user's computer, allowing them to use the search features of their email client as normal. To achieve this, the Bridge app functions like a local IMAP/SMTP email server capable of communicating with the remote ProtonMail server to encrypt and decrypt incoming/outgoing messages locally. In this way, it translates end-to-end encrypted email data into a language that any email client can understand, thus "bridging" the gap between ProtonMail's end-to-end encryption and a user's standard email client. The Bridge app aims to fit right into email clients

Signal Encrypted Messenger 2.19 Update Finally Available Following App Store Hiccup

Encrypted messaging app Signal pushed out its v2.19 update late on Friday after a post-release 48-hour delay, owing to an App Store issue that Apple has now resolved. The update includes a number of new features and improvements, including full UI display support for iPhone X. After the update is applied, users will no longer see the "Load Earlier Messages" link within chat threads, because additional messages now appear automatically upon scrolling to the top of a conversation. In other improvements, a new simplified interface has been introduced to the Signal mobile app that aims to make sending photos, files, and GIFs easier and quicker. For example, attachment previews are now displayed directly in the message bar instead of on a separate confirmation screen. Adopting a design concept popularized by Facebook Messenger known as "Jumbomoji", emoji characters are now also visibly larger in Signal chat bubbles that don't contain any other text. Elsewhere, messages that fail to send have been made easier to spot and re-send, while a new "Tap for More" option should make navigating extremely long messages a more pleasant experience. The list of supported languages has also been expanded to include Burmese, Hebrew, and Persian, while users with an external keyboard linked to their device can now make use of new key combination shortcuts for sending messages (Shift + Enter, and Command + Enter). Apart from the above changes, Open Whisper Systems has revamped the layout code to improve performance and flexibility, so everything should feel smoother and more

$199 Wink Lookout Home Security Pack Bundles All-Wink Products for the First Time

Connected smart home company Wink on Tuesday announced its first home security bundle featuring all its own-brand products, rather than including compatible products made by other companies. The Wink Lookout set includes two open/close sensors for use on doors and windows, a motion sensor with pet sensitivity for placement anywhere in the home, a siren and chime alarm with built-in flashlight, and the unifying Wink hub. No subscription is required to use the products, which communicate through the hub and can be monitored using an updated Wink iOS app that features sensor-trip alerts, siren control, and an emergency services/trusted contact call option. The new Wink home security bundle costs $199, which is significantly cheaper than the similar Nest Guard at $499. The Wink Lookout set will be available from October 31 at Home Depot and on Amazon. Sensors can be picked up individually for $29, as can the home motion sensor and siren, which cost $39 each. The set includes free shipping in the U.S. backed by a 30-day return policy. (Via Engadget.)

FBI Unable to Retrieve Encrypted Data From 6,900 Devices Over the Last 11 Months

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation was unable to retrieve data from 6,900 mobile devices that it attempted to access over the course of the last 11 months, reports the Associated Press. FBI Director Christopher Wray shared the number at an annual conference for the International Association of Chiefs of Police on Sunday. During the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, Wray says the 6,900 devices that were inaccessible accounted for half of the total devices the FBI attempted to retrieve data from. Wray called the FBI's inability to get into the devices a "huge, huge problem." "To put it mildly, this is a huge, huge problem," Wray said. "It impacts investigations across the board -- narcotics, human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation."Wray did not specify how many of the 6,900 devices the FBI could not access were iPhones or iPads running a version of Apple's iOS operating system, but encryption has been an issue between Apple and the FBI since last year when the two clashed over the unlocking of an iPhone 5c owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino. The FBI took Apple to court in an attempt to force Apple to create a version of iOS that would disable passcode security features and allow passcodes to be entered electronically, providing the FBI with the tools to hack into the device. Apple refused and fought the court order, claiming the FBI's request could set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of

Apple Says 'KRACK' Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities Are Already Patched in iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS Betas

Apple has already patched serious vulnerabilities in the WPA2 Wi-Fi standard that protects many modern Wi-Fi networks, the company told iMore's Rene Ritchie this morning. The exploits have been addressed in the iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS betas that are currently available to developers and will be rolling out to consumers soon. A KRACK attack proof-of-concept from security researcher Mathy Vanhoef Disclosed just this morning by researcher Mathy Vanhoef, the WPA2 vulnerabilities affect millions of routers, smartphones, PCs, and other devices, including Apple's Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Using a key reinstallation attack, or "KRACK," attackers can exploit weaknesses in the WPA2 protocol to decrypt network traffic to sniff out credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, photos, and other sensitive information. With certain network configurations, attackers can also inject data into the network, remotely installing malware and other malicious software. Because these vulnerabilities affect all devices that use WPA2, this is a serious problem that device manufacturers need to address immediately. Apple is often quick to fix major security exploits, so it is not a surprise that the company has already addressed this particular issue. Websites that use HTTPS offer an extra layer of security, but an improperly configured site can be exploited to drop HTTPS encryption, so Vanhoef warns that this is not a reliable protection. Apple's iOS devices (and Windows machines) are not as vulnerable as Macs or devices running Linux or Android because the vulnerability

Major Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities Uncovered Put Millions of Devices at Risk, Including Macs and iPhones

Mathy Vanhoef, a postdoctoral researcher at Belgian university KU Leuven, has discovered and disclosed major vulnerabilities in the WPA2 protocol that secures all modern protected Wi-Fi networks. Vanhoef said an attacker within range of a victim can exploit these weaknesses using so-called KRACKs, or key reinstallation attacks, which can result in any data or information that the victim transmits being decrypted. Attackers can eavesdrop on network traffic on both private and public networks. As explained by Ars Technica, the primary attack exploits a four-way handshake that is used to establish a key for encrypting traffic. During the third step, the key can be resent multiple times. When it's resent in certain ways, a cryptographic nonce can be reused in a way that completely undermines the encryption. As a result, attackers can potentially intercept sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, passwords, emails, and photos. Depending on the network configuration, it is also possible to inject and manipulate data. For example, an attacker might be able to inject ransomware or other malware into websites. Note that the attacks do not recover the password of any Wi-Fi network, according to Vanhoef. They also do not recover any parts of the fresh encryption key that is negotiated during the four-way handshake. Websites properly configured with HTTPS have an additional layer of protection, but an improperly configured site can be exploited to drop this encryption, so Vanhoef warned that it is not reliable protection. Since the vulnerabilities exist

Study Finds Significant Number of Macs Running Out-of-Date Firmware Susceptible to Critical Exploits

A new research paper from Duo Security, shared by Ars Technica, reveals that a significant number of Macs are running out-of-date EFI versions, leaving them susceptible to critical pre-boot firmware exploits. The security firm analyzed 73,324 Macs used in production environments and found that, on average, 4.2 percent of the systems were running the incorrect EFI version relative to the model and version of macOS or OS X installed. The percentage of incorrect EFI versions varies greatly depending on the model. The late 2015 21.5" iMac had the highest occurrence of incorrect EFI firmware, with 43 percent of systems running incorrect versions. EFI, which stands for Extensible Firmware Interface, bridges a Mac's hardware, firmware, and operating system together to enable it to go from power-on to booting macOS. EFI operates at a lower level than both the operating system and hypervisors, providing attackers with a greater level of control.Successful attack of a system's UEFI implementation provides an attacker with powerful capabilities in terms of stealth, persistence, and direct access to hardware, all in an OS and VMM independent manner.Duo Security found that 47 models capable of running OS X Yosemite, OS X El Capitan, or macOS Sierra, for example, did not have an EFI security patch for the Thunderstrike exploit publicly disclosed nearly three years ago. The research paper noted that there seems to be something interfering with the way bundled EFI updates are installed alongside macOS, while some Macs never received EFI updates whatsoever, but it doesn't

Apple's Latest Transparency Report Shows Jump in National Security Requests

Apple this week released its latest transparency report [PDF] outlining government data requests received from January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017. In the United States, Apple received 4,479 requests for 8,958 devices and provided data 80 percent of the time (in 3,565 cases). Worldwide, Apple received 30,814 requests for data from 233,052 devices and provided data 80 percent of the time (in 23,856 cases). Overall demands for data were slightly down compared to requests during the same time period last year, but Apple disclosed a much higher number of national security requests that include orders received under FISA and National Security Letters. According to Apple, to date, it has not received any orders for bulk data. Apple says it received 13,250 - 13,499 National Security Orders affecting 9,000 to 9,249 accounts. That’s up from 2,750 - 2,999 orders affecting 2,000 to 2,249 accounts received during the first half of 2016. Though Apple attempts to be as transparent as possible in its reports, the government does not allow the company to release specific details when it comes to the number of National Security requests received, instead requiring a number range to be provided to customers. Apple uses the narrowest range permissible by law. Apple lately has been making more of an effort to be clearer about the type of information governments around the world have asked for, and its last two reports, this one included, have been highly detailed. Along with the total number of device requests and National Security Orders, Apple also provides data on a

macOS High Sierra Automatically Performs Security Check on EFI Firmware Each Week

Mac users who upgrade to macOS High Sierra will benefit from a significant new security feature that works in the background. macOS High Sierra automatically checks a Mac's EFI firmware against Apple's database of "known good" data to ensure it hasn't been tampered with, according to a series of tweets from an Apple engineer. The tweets have since been deleted, but a summary remains available on the Mac blog The Eclectic Light Company.The new utility eficheck, located in /usr/libexec/firmwarecheckers/eficheck, runs automatically once a week. It checks that Mac's firmware against Apple's database of what is known to be good. If it passes, you will see nothing of this, but if there are discrepancies, you will be invited to send a report to Apple.If the check fails, a prompt will appear with options to "Send to Apple" or "Don't Send." The selection is remembered in subsequent weeks. The "eficheck" tool sends the binary data from the EFI firmware, and preserves user privacy by excluding data which is stored in NVRAM, according to The Eclectic Light Company. Apple will then be able to analyze the data to determine whether it has been altered by malware or anything else. The database's library will be automatically and silently updated so long as security updates are turned on. EFI, which stands for Extensible Firmware Interface, bridges a Mac's hardware, firmware, and operating system together to enable it to go from power-on to booting macOS. macOS High Sierra will be publicly released on the Mac App Store later

Hacker Releases Firmware Decryption Key for Apple's Secure Enclave

A hacker released what he claimed to be a firmware decryption key for Apple's Secure Enclave on Thursday, initially sparking fears that iOS security had been compromised. Apple's Secure Enclave Processor (SEP) handles all cryptographic operations for the Apple Watch Series 2, the A7 processor that powers the iPhone 5s, the iPad Air, the iPad mini 2 and 3, and subsequent A-series chips. The encrypted SEP is completely isolated from the rest of the system and handles Touch ID transactions, password verifications, and other security processes on a separate OS to maintain data protection integrity even if the kernel has been compromised. One of the ways the SEP does this is by generating a Unique ID (UID) for each device for authentication purposes. The UID automatically changes every time a device is rebooted and remains unknown to other parts of the system, further enhancing its security. Beyond that, little is known about how the SEP actually works outside of Apple, but that's by design – the enclave's isolation serves to obfuscate it from the rest of the system, preventing hackers from rifling through its code to make it as secure as possible. key is fully grown https://t.co/MwN4kb9SQI use https://t.co/I9fLo5Iglh to decrypt and https://t.co/og6tiJHbCu to process— ~ (@xerub) August 16, 2017 The decryption key posted on GitHub yesterday would not enable hackers to access data stored inside the Secure Enclave, but it could allow hackers and security researchers to decrypt the firmware that controls it and potentially spot weaknesses in the code. Speaking to T