Back at the tail end of November, Apple had to rush out an emergency security patch after news of a serious security flaw surfaced in macOS High Sierra. That bug allowed users to log into a system by typing “root” for a login, then hitting enter for a login attempt several times in a row. Now there’s a new bug; it isn’t as much of a risk as that one, but it’s still a significant issue.
The bug appears limited to High Sierra (Sierra isn’t affected), and has been verified by Macrumors as existing in 10.13.2, the latest version of the operating system. Macrumors states that it cannot reproduce the error on the beta versions of macOS 10.13.3, suggesting it’ll be fixed in an upcoming release. Nevertheless, it remains active for now.
Reproducing the bug is fairly simple and involves the following steps, as laid out by eholtam, who found the bug:
1) Log in as a local admin2) Open App Store Pref pane from the System Preferences3) Lock the padlock if it is already unlocked4) Click the lock to unlock it5) Enter any bogus password
The expected behavior, obviously, is that the login attempt will fail. The actual behavior is that the login and unlock attempt works perfectly. The bug only works when you’re logged into an administrative account, but it’s another example of how Apple seems to have dropped the ball on setting user policies and permissions properly. While not nearly as risky as the earlier login bug, Apple clearly didn’t perform some due diligence testing it needed to engage in. Being able to change preferences in the App Store allows you to change the schedules for app updates, system updates, and security updates. Flipping those settings could be used in conjunction with another attack to ensure a system wasn’t patched to close a security hole, though local access or at least administrator access from a remote location are required.
The optics of the situation are worse, given that Apple specifically declared it would revisit its practices to prevent a reoccurrence. Back in late November, the company wrote: “We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users, both for releasing with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again.”
Clearly that audit isn’t quite finished yet. There’s no current workaround to this issue, so the only real option is to wait for Apple to provide a solution.
Researchers Found Another Major Security Flaw in Intel CPUs
Security researchers have found another flaw in Intel CPUs — this time related to Intel Active Management Technology. Once again, this flaw can be leveraged to take complete control of a system, regardless of any security measures the user might employ.
Lawmakers Urge AT&T to Cut Ties with Huawei, Citing National Security Concerns
It's been several years since the last dust-up, but US lawmakers and regulators are still sounding the alarm about any cooperation with Huawei.
Most Android Security Scares Are Bullshit
Many of the Android malware stories we see making the rounds end up amounting to nothing because of the way the platform operates these days. While Android malware is definitely out there, you usually don't need to panic.
ET Deals: Norton Core Connected AC2600 Secure Wi-Fi Router with One-Year Security Plus for $200
If you're using the default wireless router that your ISP provides, you might be dealing with coverage issues. Certain rooms in your house might drop your connection, or the speed might be terrible. So if you're ready to upgrade to a better wireless router that doesn't compromise one iota on security, consider the Norton Core.