Kernel sanders: Webroot vuln creates route to root Macs

Patched flaw hard to exploit, but serious once you get there, warn infoseccers

Details of a locally exploitable but kernel-level flaw in Webroot's SecureAnywhere macOS security software were revealed yesterday, months after the bug was patched.


Webroot antivirus goes bananas, starts trashing Windows system files


The fact that the memory corruption bug (CVE-2018-16962) is locally exploitable limited its utility to black hats. If it was the only tool in their kit, it would be of little use to your average bad guy. The hacker would have to be either already logged into a vulnerable Mac themselves or have passed the point where they had already tricked a logged-in user into opening an exploit through social engineering or some other ruse.

That said, anyone who managed to successfully exploit the Mac security software bug would be able to execute malware at the "kernel level", or deeper than root.

It also gives fodder to those who are inclined to argue that security software actually increases the attack surface of computers.

According to researchers who uncovered the flaw at Trustwave, it stemmed from the blind trust of one form of user-supplied input. An arbitrary user-supplied pointer can be "read from and potentially written to", they said.

This created the potential for a local privilege escalation attack under certain conditions. A would-be hacker could also have found a means to bypass KASLR (kernel address space layout randomisation, operating system-defined memory protection) on the versions of OSX/macOS supported by SecureAnywhere.

Webroot resolved this vulnerability with version and above for SecureAnywhere for MacOS. In a statement, Webroot said:

The security of our customers is of paramount importance to Webroot. This vulnerability was remedied in software version which has been available for our customers since July 24, 2018. We have no evidence of any compromises from this vulnerability.

For any user running a version of Mac not currently supported by Apple (OS 10.8 or lower), we recommend upgrading to an Apple-supported version to receive our updated agent and be in line with cybersecurity best practices on system patching.

The flaw was fixed months ago but Trustwave only published its take on the bug it discovered. Questioned about this delay, Trustwave offered the following justification:

"It is important that the details of our research are accurate and in order. Vendors at times issue a patch faster than we post full details on findings. We often provide users with more time to apply the patch before we release technical details about a vulnerability." ®

Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022