Risk
10/21/2010
10:58 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Apple FaceTime Mac Beta Ships With Pedestrian Security Flaw

On Wednesday Apple announced its FaceTime for Mac beta. Problem is the beta software shipped with a security flaw that could enable attackers to access iTunes accounts. However, the flaw could be indicative of much more systemic problems.

On Wednesday Apple announced its FaceTime for Mac beta. Problem is the beta software shipped with a security flaw that could enable attackers to access iTunes accounts. However, the flaw could be indicative of much more systemic problems.The security issue was first reported, to the best of my knowledge, by German site MacNotes. And in their post they highlight how an attacker could access a user's Apple ID and even reset their password:

Once you've logged into FaceTime you can have a look at all the account settings of the used Apple ID. Username, ID, place and birth date are shown as well as the security question and the answer to it - in plain text, without another password request. To reset the password to an Apple ID, all you need it the exact birth date and the answer to the security question - we tried that out for you, and it worked fine.

The blog post walks through, step by step, how someone without knowing a user's FaceTime password, can change that password. And, according to the report, even logging out of FaceTime doesn't fix the issue as the app keeps the password stored and active, so that it's a snap for anyone to log in to an unattended system.

The upshot in this flaw is that an attacker would need to have physical access to a system pull off these shenanigans. But with more of us computing on mobile devices - notebooks, smart phones, and tablets - flaws that require physical access to a system provide increasingly less risk mitigation.

What troubles me is that Apple doesn't seem to have conducted any kind of threat modeling on this FaceTime beta software. I mean, really, username, Apple ID, and security questions shouldn't be stored in plain text for the world to see. This is especially true when the software doesn't clear the password when one logs out. And it should go without saying that providing the existing password should be a requirement to conducting a password change. With such carelessness, it makes one wonder what other areas where Apple has so blatantly skimped on security. Are they developing so fast now that security is being pushed aside?

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, find me on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2004-2771
Published: 2014-12-24
The expand function in fio.c in Heirloom mailx 12.5 and earlier and BSD mailx 8.1.2 and earlier allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters in an email address.

CVE-2014-3569
Published: 2014-12-24
The ssl23_get_client_hello function in s23_srvr.c in OpenSSL 1.0.1j does not properly handle attempts to use unsupported protocols, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference and daemon crash) via an unexpected handshake, as demonstrated by an SSLv3 handshak...

CVE-2014-4322
Published: 2014-12-24
drivers/misc/qseecom.c in the QSEECOM driver for the Linux kernel 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, does not validate certain offset, length, and base values within an ioctl call, which allows attackers to gain privileges or c...

CVE-2014-6132
Published: 2014-12-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Web UI in IBM WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR) 6.3 through 6.3.0.5, 7.0.x through 7.0.0.5, 7.5.x through 7.5.0.4, 8.0.x before 8.0.0.3, and 8.5.x before 8.5.0.1 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML vi...

CVE-2014-6153
Published: 2014-12-24
The Web UI in IBM WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR) 6.3.x through 6.3.0.5, 7.0.x through 7.0.0.5, 7.5.x through 7.5.0.4, 8.0.x before 8.0.0.3, and 8.5.x before 8.5.0.1 does not set the secure flag for a cookie in an https session, which makes it easier for remote attackers to capture ...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.