TUCoPS :: Macintosh :: ciacm007.txt

OS X App Mgr Vulnerability


                       The U.S. Department of Energy
                     Computer Incident Advisory Center
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                             INFORMATION BULLETIN

                Macintosh OS-X Application Manager Vulnerability

October 19, 2001 22:00 GMT                                        Number M-007
PROBLEM:       There is a problem in the Macintosh application manager that 
               allows a new process to start in the context of the front 
               process. If the front process is a suid root application, the 
               new process starts with root access. 
PLATFORM:      Apple Macintosh OS-X 10.1 and earlier 
DAMAGE:        Normal users with physical access to a workstation can get root 
SOLUTION:      A patch should be available from Apple by midnight on 10/19/01. 
               Running Software Update after that time should automatically 
               download the patch from Apple. The patch should also be on 
               Apple’s Security Update page by next week. If you are unable to 
               get the patch a work around is to remove suid .app type 
               applications or reset the suid bit on those applications. If 
               you reset the suid bit, you must login as root to run these 
VULNERABILITY  The risk is MEDIUM. The vulnerability allows a normal user at 
ASSESSMENT:    the console to get root access. The exploit is in the wild and 
               simple to execute. 
 CIAC BULLETIN:      http://www.ciac.org/ciac/bulletins/m-007.shtml 
 PATCHES:            Security Updates from Apple: 

CIAC has learned of a vulnerability in the Apple Macintosh application manager 
that allows a normal user sitting at the console to get root access. The 
exploit for this vulnerability is in the wild and is simple to perform. The 
vulnerability starts new applications in the context of the currently active
application. If the active application is a suid root application, the new 
program is started in the context of the root user. It does not appear at 
this time that the exploit can be performed remotely. 


Patches should be available from Apple by midnight on 10/19/01. Running the 
Software Update control panel after that time should download and install the 
patch. Later in the week, the patch should be on the Security Updates page on 
the Apple website. 

Work Around

If you are unable to get a copy of the update, the following work around will 
temporarily secure your systems. 

First, login as root and locate all the type .app applications that have 
the suid bit set. Do this by opening a terminal window and running the 
following command. 

   find /Applications -perm -4000 -print

On a newly upgraded OS-X 10.1 system, this command finds the following programs 
as having the suid bit set: 

    Disk Utility
    NetInfo Manager
    PrintingReset (Print Center)

From the list of programs that have the suid bit set, determine which could 
be removed from your system without impacting your operations. On a working 
system, you can probably delete the Disk Utility and the NetInfo Manager but 
removing the Print Center would likely be a problem. For those applications 
that you cannot remove from your system, reset the suid bit with a command 
like the following that was used on the NetInfo Manager. 

chmod u-s /Applications/Utilities/NetInfo\ Manager.app/Contents
             /MacOS/NetInfo\ Manager

Note the \ escapes for the spaces in the directory path. After doing this, 
the NetInfo Manager will only work correctly for the root user. 

CIAC, the Computer Incident Advisory Center, is the computer
security incident response team for the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) and the emergency backup response team for the National
Institutes of Health (NIH). CIAC is located at the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in Livermore, California. CIAC is also a founding
member of FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, a
global organization established to foster cooperation and coordination
among computer security teams worldwide.

CIAC services are available to DOE, DOE contractors, and the NIH. CIAC
can be contacted at:
    Voice:    +1 925-422-8193 (7x24)
    FAX:      +1 925-423-8002
    STU-III:  +1 925-423-2604
    E-mail:   ciac@ciac.org

Previous CIAC notices, anti-virus software, and other information are
available from the CIAC Computer Security Archive.

   World Wide Web:      http://www.ciac.org/
   Anonymous FTP:       ftp.ciac.org

PLEASE NOTE: Many users outside of the DOE, ESnet, and NIH computing
communities receive CIAC bulletins.  If you are not part of these
communities, please contact your agency's response team to report
incidents. Your agency's team will coordinate with CIAC. The Forum of
Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) is a world-wide
organization. A list of FIRST member organizations and their
constituencies can be obtained via WWW at http://www.first.org/.

This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an
agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States
Government nor the University of California nor any of their
employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any
legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or
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recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or the
University of California. The views and opinions of authors expressed
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Government or the University of California, and shall not be used for
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