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Charlie Miller pwned yet another Mac computer at CanSecWest. He says Macs are easier to hack than Windows 7 computers.  (Source: ZDNet)

Peter Vreugdenhil managed to hack a patched 64-bit Windows 7 machine using tricks to bypass the operating system's memory protections.  (Source: ZDNet)
Safari on a Mac and Internet Explorer 8 in Windows 7 were also exploited

It's been an action-packed couple of days of Pwn2Own hacking contests at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver.  Hackers eroded Apple's image of superior security, making quick work of both Microsoft and Apple products alike.

The fireworks began with an iPhone exploit coded primarily by Vincenzo Iozzo and Ralf Philipp Weinmann.  The exploit works on fully patched iPhone 3GS (and presumably other models).  It allows a malicious user to lure a target to a website and then steal any or all of the following -- the person's SMS text database (including deleted messages), their contacts, pictures, and iTunes music files.

Describes Iozzo, "Basically, every page that the user visits on our [rigged] site will grab the SMS database and upload it to a server we control."

Halvar Flake also helped the pair develop the exploit.  He says that the iPhone's sandbox protections don't do enough to protect the user fully.  He states, "This exploit doesn’t get out of the iPhone sandbox.  Apple has pretty good counter-measures but they are clearly not enough. The way they implement code-signing is too lenient."

He posts more details on a blog here.  

The exploit currently crashes the browser, but the collaborators are planning a version that allows the browser to keep running.  They sold the rights to the vulnerability to TippingPoint Zero Day Initiative, which is in turn working with Apple to come up with a patch.

Iozzo and Winmann scored the iPhone 3GS they hacked and a $15,000 cash prize.

That wasn't the only Apple product exploited -- as promised, Charlie Miller successfully hacked a Mac computer for the third year in the row.  Conference organizers navigated to a prepared webpage which downloaded content without informing the user.  That download was used by Miller to gain root access to the machine.

Miller is a champion of a hacking/testing technique known as fuzzing.  Fuzzers throw random inputs  such as environment variables, keyboard and mouse events, and sequences of API calls to try to get a program to do something it doesn't usually do (like compromise its security).

For his efforts Miller scored another MacBook Pro (though he probably doesn't need it).  He's cooperating with Apple on a patch and won't release details of the vulnerability until it lands.

Apple wasn't the only OS maker to have their products hacked, though.  Windows 7's much celebrated memory protections were cracked.

Dutch hacker Peter Vreugdenhil infiltrated a fully patched Windows 7 64-bit machine by bypassing the ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) and DEP (Data Execution Prevention) memory protections.  With the protections down Vreugdenhil used Internet Explorer 8 exploits to hijack the machine.  

Vreugdenhil is also a proponent of fuzzing to discover exploits.  He describes, "I started with a bypass for ALSR which gave me the base address for one of the modules loaded into IE. I used that knowledge to do the DEP bypass.  I specifically looking through my fuzzing logs for a bug like this because I could use it to do the ASLR bypass."

IE team members were on hand to witness the feat.  They said that they are working with conference organizers to determine the nature of the vulnerability and make a patch to protect against it.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Wait for it...
By Iaiken on 3/25/2010 10:00:52 AM , Rating: 5
Where is Pirks, Apple Fanboy, Defender of the Faith?

When Apple hackers come out and say MS did a good job with Windows 7 security, it's worth taking notice.




RE: Wait for it...
By biggsjm on 3/25/10, Rating: -1
RE: Wait for it...
By amanojaku on 3/25/2010 10:59:28 AM , Rating: 5
Maybe I misunderstood the Win7 hack, but it used IE to hack the OS. That is the same thing as the iPhone and Mac hacks; all three where "user initiated" by simply navigating to a malicious web page. All three hacks are valid and 100% possible for anyone with an Internet-connected computer. Considering how hackers have uploaded malicious content to well known sites like CNN, the fact is no site is trustworthy.


RE: Wait for it...
By weskurtz0081 on 3/25/2010 11:26:57 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, all three exploits were done via the browser.... IE, over the internet.

I wonder who fixes the exploits first?


RE: Wait for it...
By pequin06 on 3/25/2010 11:50:58 AM , Rating: 5
Microsoft will issue a patch, Apple will charge for the new feature.


RE: Wait for it...
By Samus on 3/25/2010 6:10:16 PM , Rating: 3
LMFAO +6


RE: Wait for it...
By B3an on 3/27/2010 12:49:29 AM , Rating: 2
LOL and release it 6+ months after MS's patch.


RE: Wait for it...
By kamel5547 on 3/25/2010 12:02:55 PM , Rating: 3
All three exploits are browser based. The summary on DailyTech is a little misleading. "HOW: Target is lured to a website hosting an exploit - the attack code bypasses ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) and DEP (Data Execution Prevention) - the attacker gains user right on the machine"

An interesting note is that no one attempted to exploit Chrome due to difficulty in geting out of its sandbox. So I guess the real thing to do is drop your current browser and use Chrome.

15 years ago (1995) Apple had roughly 11% of the personal computer market, so it was probably a more attractive target than now...

On a side note the moral of the story may be that iPhone users are screwed as they cannot use an alternate browser. Its too easy to craft a bad "page", in fact its as easy as buying an ad and convincing a reputable site to carry it (which has happened many times).


RE: Wait for it...
By jimhsu on 3/28/2010 9:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
A well managed whitelist (e.g. NoScript) will always be superior, although usability suffers. Just saying...


RE: Wait for it...
By arjunp2085 on 3/26/2010 3:53:09 PM , Rating: 2
Hey is pirks on vacation??? No post from him .. thats ODD!!!

"Where is Pirks, Apple Fanboy, Defender of the Faith?"


RE: Wait for it...
By Gio6518 on 3/27/2010 12:34:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hey is pirks on vacation???


bizare how reader1 comments are also missing coincidence ?


RE: Wait for it...
By crystal clear on 3/27/2010 4:19:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Where is Pirks


That shows you all miss him very much !.

Yes the very fact you need him, shows he is of entertainment value !.

He like Apple is considering charging you for every update he posts on the site.

quote:
When Apple hackers come out and say MS did a good job with Windows 7 security, it's worth taking notice.


Yes the same hacker recommends you buy a Mac ! it's worth taking notice.

Charlie Miller prefers to use Macs & recommends you to buy one !
By crystal clear on 3/20/10, Rating: 2
By crystal clear on 3/20/2010 1:11:37 PM , Rating: 2

http://www.dailytech.com/Article.aspx?newsid=17934...

Not that Win7 is bad ..its just a case of choice & personal preferences.

By the way all O.S. are work in progress......

Read this-

Ubuntu's Latest Should Scare Microsoft

The Ubuntu community, shepherded by the company Canonical, has delivered not only its fastest operating system to date but has included so many flourishes that are relevant to today's PC market that it should receive much stronger consideration in competitive engagements than ever before. From social networking to security to desktop cloud services, the Beta 1 of Ubuntu 10.04, the so-called Lucid Lynx version, leaves Windows 7 behind in several areas with tightly integrated applications.



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