Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Application Security

8/24/2017
11:30 PM
50%
50%

Apple iOS Exploit Takes Complete Control of Kernel

Researcher demonstrates 'severe' ZIVA exploit at Hack in the Box.

Multiple vulnerabilities in the AppleAVEDriver when linked together create an opportunity to launch an iOS exploit that can take full control of the iOS kernel, security researcher Adam Donenfeld of Zimperium's zLabs revealed today.

Donenfeld, who today demonstrated the exploit at the Hack In the Box conference in Singapore, says all iOS devices running versions 10.3.1 released in April as well as earlier versions are currently vulnerable to the attack. 

Apple patched eight vulnerabilities Donenfeld previously discovered – seven in AppleAVEDriver.kext and one in the iOSurface kernel extension – in its iOS version 10.3.2 in May.

It all began in January when Donefeld was researching the favored path attackers take in hitting Apple's iOS, which entails focusing on the direct containerized app-to-kernel vulnerabilities.

"The attack surface in between [the containerized app and kernel] is often underlooked and has more vulnerabilities, which are, usually, much, much easier to exploit. So, in most cases, even though an attacker has to go through more lines of code, finding and exploiting those bugs is usually an easier job," Donefeld says.

In his app-to-kernel vulnerabilities search, Donefeld did find a bug on Jan. 24, which in turn raised questions in his mind about other iOS attack surfaces. That curiosity led him to dive deeper into Apple's closed-source kernel modules, where he found one he was not familiar with called Apple AVEDriver. That module lacked basic security fundamentals and contained seven vulnerabilities that would allow attackers to elevate privileges by overtaking the kernel and gaining arbitrary read-write and root control.

Building an iOS Kernel Exploit

Donefeld created the fully chained iOS kernel exploit - which he dubbed ZIVA - by linking together the seven vulnerabilities he found in the AppleAVEDriver module, he says.

Some of these AppleAVE vulnerabilities could allow information disclosures, denial of service (DoS), and elevation of privilege (EoP), Donefeld says.

"The issues are severe and could allow the attacker to take complete control of any iOS device on the market prior to version 10.3.2., as well as access information including GPS data, photos, and contact information, or conduct denial-of-service (DoS) attacks," Donefeld says.

He notes that because Apple issued a patch for the flaws with version 10.3.2, iOS users who updated their device to the latest iOS version should be protected. Others, he adds, should invest in a third-party security solution.

"This provides a complete control over the kernel," he says of the exploit.

Related Content:

Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable CISOs and IT security experts in a setting that is conducive to interaction and conversation. Click for more info and to register.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
meisterwilliams
50%
50%
meisterwilliams,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/25/2017 | 2:46:17 PM
Thank you.
Thank you for the Update.

 
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
DevSecOps: The Answer to the Cloud Security Skills Gap
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  11/15/2019
Attackers' Costs Increasing as Businesses Focus on Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  11/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-5118
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-18
A Security Bypass Vulnerability exists in TBOOT before 1.8.2 in the boot loader module when measuring commandline parameters.
CVE-2019-12422
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-18
Apache Shiro before 1.4.2, when using the default "remember me" configuration, cookies could be susceptible to a padding attack.
CVE-2012-4441
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-18
Cross-site Scripting (XSS) in Jenkins main before 1.482 and LTS before 1.466.2 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML in the CI game plugin.
CVE-2019-10764
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-18
In elliptic-php versions priot to 1.0.6, Timing attacks might be possible which can result in practical recovery of the long-term private key generated by the library under certain conditions. Leakage of a bit-length of the scalar during scalar multiplication is possible on an elliptic curve which m...
CVE-2019-19117
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-18
/usr/lib/lua/luci/controller/admin/autoupgrade.lua on PHICOMM K2(PSG1218) V22.5.9.163 devices allows remote authenticated users to execute any command via shell metacharacters in the cgi-bin/luci autoUpTime parameter.