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[bit-tech] Mac OS X flaw reveals passwords

post #1 of 17
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Quote:
A San Francisco-based programmer and Apple fan has uncovered a rather serious flaw in OS X which can allow a cracker to grab a plain-text copy of the password for the currently logged in account.

Apple has confirmed the bug, although is downplaying the severity due to the requirement for physical access to the machine – so far, no-one has discovered a way to exploit the bug remotely. Despite this, discoverer Jacob Applebaum – and isn't that an ironic name – describes the issue as a “real problem and it needs to be fixed.â€

The flaw is a result of poor handling of the unlocking process: when a password is requested by the system, it is used to unlock the keychain file containing all the saved passwords for wireless networks, SSH connections, and the like; however, instead of ditching the password as soon as the unlocking operation is complete OS X keeps it hanging around in RAM until the user logs out.

This means that if an attacker is able to dump a copy of the memory, he can simply search through the file for your passphrase.

There's no particular reason why the passphrase should be kept in RAM after the operation has finished, and plenty of reasons to get rid as soon as is possible. Quite why Apple has chosen not to isn't exactly clear, and the company isn't being forthcoming with details. When asked about the vulnerability, spokesman Anuj Nayar told CNet that the company was “aware of this locally exploitable vulnerability†and would be issuing a fix in the near future.

Anybody with a background in computer security will be able to tell you the number one rule in infosec: once the attacker has physical access, it's game over. Even so, it shouldn't be quite as easy as this to grab every password a user has ever saved.

Source
post #2 of 17
thats a sweet feature! i wonder if windows will try and copy that too
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post #3 of 17
Reminds me slightly of the whole cold-boot hack or whatever on pc's to gain access to files before the disk encryption turns on.
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post #4 of 17
Be careful of what you wish and work for I guess. As Apple becomes more popular, they're going to see more security flaws.
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post #5 of 17
This is alot bigger then apple will admit say a school runs alot of macs and students get a limited acount well what if a tech or teacher loged into a box to do some stuff and loged out if said student knew this exploit he would have the tech or teachers passes probly to the entire network.
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post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikersSU View Post
Be careful of what you wish and work for I guess. As Apple becomes more popular, they're going to see more security flaws.
They have always had security flaws, nothing is perfect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bal3Wolf View Post
This is alot bigger then apple will admit say a school runs alot of macs and students get a limited acount well what if a tech or teacher loged into a box to do some stuff and loged out if said student knew this exploit he would have the tech or teachers passes probly to the entire network.
Impossible, read the article.

Quote:
instead of ditching the password as soon as the unlocking operation is complete OS X keeps it hanging around in RAM until the user logs out.
Once they log out, then it clears it, and a teachers account is as limited as a students.
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post #7 of 17
Then apple isnt wrong about this flaw, theres a small % chance that some one wont log off, and will leave the system unattended...
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post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by n_ka15 View Post
Then apple isnt wrong about this flaw, theres a small % chance that some one wont log off, and will leave the system unattended...
Especially someone that has privelages lol.
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post #9 of 17
Oh NOES.... wait I don't even have a password
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post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lelouch View Post
They have always had security flaws, nothing is perfect.



Impossible, read the article.



Once they log out, then it clears it, and a teachers account is as limited as a students.
Not true teachers are on admin acounts so they can install software and things but your right i misread it the teacher would have to login then forget to logout and it would have to be befor the screensaver came on and auto locked the box also.
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