Serious Vulnerability Found in OS X Yosemite (10.10)
A serious vulnerability in OS X Yosemite?! That’s what Truesec IT Security Consultant and Software Engineer, Emil Kvanrnhammar says he found.
Kvarnhammar discovered the bug, dubbed “rootpipe”, when he was preparing for two upcoming security events. He wanted to present vulnerabilities affecting Mac OS X, but had trouble finding anything that worked on newer versions of OS X. To his surprise, he managed to find a way to create a shell with root privileges after digging around in admin operations.
Rootpipe is considered a “privilege escalation vulnerability” that can potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. The vulnerability is present in OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.5) and, with a few modifications to the exploit, the newly released Yosemite (10.10). OS X Mavericks (10.9) does not appear to be affected.
Kvarnhammar notified Apple of the bug shortly after discovering it. Out of respect forOS X users, Kvanrnhammar is keeping the technical details of the rootpipe vulnerability to himself until Apple releases a patch for it. A full disclosure about the vulnerability is expected in January.
Tips to Keep OS X Safe
In the meantime, Kvarnhammer offers the following security advice to OS X users:
- Use a standard account that does not have admin privileges. This will limit the amount of damage that attackers can do. (It’s a good idea regardless of what OS you use!)
- Use the built-in FireVault feature to encrypt your hard drive. This will help protect your data – and there’s little impact on your computer’s performance.