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Print 24 comment(s) - last by AraH.. on Apr 25 at 9:09 AM

MacBook attacked through security hole in Safari web browser

The two-day "PWN to Own" hack-a-Mac contest, organized by CanSecWest, in Vancouver, British Columbia was the base for competitors to show off their hacking talents.  One team stood up to challenge and managed to exploit the Mac in 9 hours.  Shane Macaulay, a software engineer, won the very MacBook that he exploited, through a zero-day security hole in Apple's Safari browser.

Macaulay's attack on the MacBook came with the aid of Dino Dai Zovi, a security researcher who had been previously credited by Apple for finding flaws in the company's software.  In a telephone interview with CNET, Dai Zovi stated, "The vulnerability and the exploit are mine.  Shane is my man on the ground."  According to the CanSecWest website, there is an exploitable flaw in Safari which can be triggered within a malicious web page.

Apple spokeswoman, Lynn Fox, gave the usual comment on Mac security, "Apple takes security very seriously and has a great track record of addressing potential vulnerabilities before they can affect users."

The hack-a-Mac contest consists of two MacBooks set up with their own access point and all security updates installed, but without additional security software.  Contestants will be able to connect to the computers through the access point through Ethernet or Wi-Fi.  According to the website, the two parts of the challenge include finding a flaw that allows the attacker to get a shell with user level privileges, then doing the same and also getting root.

The second OS X box did not get exploited by the second and last day.



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"Hacking" eh?
By THEiNTERNETS on 4/24/2007 1:16:14 AM , Rating: -1
"One team stood up to challenge and managed to exploit the Mac in 9 hours."

Oh DT...

Before all our little Mac haters go buck wild, let me ruin all your potential punchlines.

1) The rules of the contest were eased because no one could actually hack into the Macbook even through the unsecured router. There was no OS flaw they could exploit without input from the end user.

2) The exploit they did use was in Safari. So maybe we should call this deadline "hacking Safari."

3) Since when did "hacking" become emailing a link to a malicious webpage which the user then has to click on? Seriously guys? Seriously!?

How many IE or Firefox flaws exist that allow you to do this to a Vista or XP machine? How many have been fixed? Hundreds? Thousands?

Don't get me wrong, I don't think Macs are the greatest thing since sliced bread but this contest was frankly pretty lame. Hacking a Macbook should mean taking control away from the user just by them being on the unsecured WiFi...

Those types of attacks were the REAL security flaws to be nervous about in XP. Messing around with websites is great if you like to bash IE all the time but this hardly seems noteworthy to me.




RE: "Hacking" eh?
By James Holden on 4/24/2007 1:29:42 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
2) The exploit they did use was in Safari. So maybe we should call this deadline "hacking Safari."

Because Safari works so well on Windows.

quote:
3) Since when did "hacking" become emailing a link to a malicious webpage which the user then has to click on? Seriously guys? Seriously!?

You're right! Apple should stop fixing these "bugs" since it's not really a hack!

quote:
How many IE or Firefox flaws exist that allow you to do this to a Vista or XP machine?

None, since someone fixed them already.

quote:
Hacking a Macbook should mean taking control away from the user just by them being on the unsecured WiFi...

Someone already did that hack.
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2006/08...

quote:
Those types of attacks were the REAL security flaws to be nervous about in XP.

So why didn't they get fixed on the Apple? Hubris?


RE: "Hacking" eh?
By Scott66 on 4/24/2007 1:42:14 AM , Rating: 1
That mac wifi exploit could only work if the mac user decided it would be a good idea to connect to a different non preferred network.

The hacker couldn't take over the wi-fi connection. He had to wait until the user handed him the control.

This is all mute because this has been fixed by both mac and windows. I do remember the apple was fixed first.


RE: "Hacking" eh?
By James Holden on 4/24/2007 2:10:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is all mute because this has been fixed by both mac and windows. I do remember the apple was fixed first

I'm not one to correct grammar usually, but the word you're looking for is *moot*


RE: "Hacking" eh?
By MonkeyPaw on 4/24/2007 7:40:52 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, just think back to the movie "Office Space" and Tom's "Jump to Conclusions" mat. "Moot" is one of the "conclusions" that you can jump to. No kidding, that's how I learned the word "moot." :)


RE: "Hacking" eh?
By Scott66 on 4/24/2007 11:06:49 AM , Rating: 2
I apologize for using the wrong word. What I did though though is not a grammatical mistake but a homonym error. At least I tried to use the right word. If you wish to point the flaws in other, don't make one yourself.


RE: "Hacking" eh?
By OCedHrt on 4/24/2007 3:38:02 AM , Rating: 4
Did you even read the article?

"...this attack can be carried out whether or not a vulnerable targeted laptop connects with a local wireless network. It is, they said, enough for a vulnerable machine to have its wireless card active for such an attack to be successful."

Of concern is that on Windows, device driver updates are not automatically installed by Windows Update.


RE: "Hacking" eh?
By Hare on 4/24/2007 2:33:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
How many IE or Firefox flaws exist that allow you to do this to a Vista or XP machine?
quote:

None, since someone fixed them already.


Really? You couldn't be more wrong:

Close to 20% of Secunia's over 100 vulnerabilities are reported unpatched. Even with the latest vendor patches there are "moderately critical" vulnerabilities around waiting to be exploited. 15% of all vulnerabilities have been "extremely critical". 36% have given system access!

Don't make up "facts" because there are people who will always check them. You will only end up looking like a fanboy (or a pointless Apple hater).

http://secunia.com/product/11/?task=statistics

Ps. Don't give me spelling advice. This is not my native tongue.


RE: "Hacking" eh?
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 4/24/2007 4:37:05 AM , Rating: 3
Sounds like the exploit he used might even work on Firefox with QuickTime installed as well. Seems like it's Java/QT bug?

http://www.matasano.com/log/806/hot-off-the-matasa...


RE: "Hacking" eh?
By Hare on 4/24/2007 4:49:45 AM , Rating: 2
So it seems "The vulnerability affects Firefox as well as Safari". Thanks for the link.

It seems that Windows users are also at risk if Quicktime has problems.


RE: "Hacking" eh?
By AraH on 4/25/2007 9:09:25 AM , Rating: 2
and quicktime is developed by...


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