Vulnerabilities / Threats
7/30/2009
04:59 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Black Hat: Mac OS X Rootkit Debuts

The development of a proof-of-concept rootkit for Mac OS X reinforces the fact that security concerns aren't just for Windows users.

At the Black Hat security conference on Wednesday, security researcher Dino Dai Zovi revealed a proof-of-concept rootkit that runs on Apple's Mac OS X operating system, underscoring the fact that all software has flaws.

Rootkit software is designed to covertly run code, typically malicious, on affected systems. It can be used to steal information or control a compromised system. Rootkits are typically installed by other malware.

Apple users have enjoyed a relatively malware-free existence, at least compared to Windows users, and Apple has made much of that fact in its television commercials. But there are holes to be found in Apple's software, too. There just aren't a lot of cybercriminals focused on a platform that's less than 10% of the market.

That's been changing slowly, with the spread of the OS X-based iPhone, and the popularity of iTunes among Windows users. Security vendors, eager to sell Mac users security software, suggest the situation is changing quickly.

Thanks to the work of Dai Zovi, author of The Mac Hacker's Handbook, and other security researchers focused on the Mac, like Charlie Miller, the vulnerabilities in Apple's software are better understood. In theory, such work makes computer users safer by encouraging companies to fix disclosed vulnerabilities.

Apple did not respond to a query about whether it had patched its software to block Dai Zovi's attack.

Dai Zovi's proof-of-concept rootkit is called Machiavelli, a reference to the Mach kernel that underpins Mac OS X.

"Machiavelli consists of a Mach proxy server on the local controlling host and a number of remote agent servers that run on remote compromised hosts," Dai Zovi explains in a technical paper that describes his work. "On the controlling host, rootkit management utilities obtain a proxy Mach port from the proxy server and use it just as a normal application would use a local Mach port."

With his presentation complete, Dai Zovi plans soon to release several Mac software tools related to his research on his Web site. These include: Inject Bundle, for data injection; iChatSpy, code for logging instant messages; SSLSpy, for logging SSL traffic; iSightSpy, for capturing a single frame from any Apple iSight camera; Machiavelli, for remotely controlling a compromised system; and Uncloak, a rootkit identification tool.

Black Hat is owned by TechWeb, which publishes InformationWeek.

InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on data-loss prevention. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-2413
Published: 2014-10-20
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the ja_purity template for Joomla! 1.5.26 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the Mod* cookie parameter to html/modules.php.

CVE-2012-5244
Published: 2014-10-20
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Banana Dance B.2.6 and earlier allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the (1) return, (2) display, (3) table, or (4) search parameter to functions/suggest.php; (5) the id parameter to functions/widgets.php, (6) the category parameter to...

CVE-2012-5694
Published: 2014-10-20
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Bulb Security Smartphone Pentest Framework (SPF) before 0.1.3 allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the (1) agentPhNo, (2) controlPhNo, (3) agentURLPath, (4) agentControlKey, or (5) platformDD1 parameter to frameworkgui/attach2Agents.p...

CVE-2012-5695
Published: 2014-10-20
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Bulb Security Smartphone Pentest Framework (SPF) 0.1.2 through 0.1.4 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that conduct (1) shell metacharacter or (2) SQL injection attacks or (3) send an SMS m...

CVE-2012-5696
Published: 2014-10-20
Bulb Security Smartphone Pentest Framework (SPF) before 0.1.3 does not properly restrict access to frameworkgui/config, which allows remote attackers to obtain the plaintext database password via a direct request.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.