@Stake issues Mac OS X advisories

Internet security company @Stake has warned of newly discovered vulnerabilities affecting Apple Computer's Mac OS X operating system.

Cambridge, Mass.-based @Stake released three advisories on Tuesday. The first details "systemic" flaws in the way OS X handles file and directory permissions; the second notes a kernel-level vulnerability that does not affect default installations of the operating system; and the third involves a buffer-overflow condition that may be remotely exploitable. Apple has not yet released patches for the security issues. @Stake has advised Mac users to upgrade to the latest Apple operating system, which is not vulnerable to the flaws. The operating system, OS X 10.3, or "Panther," is priced at $129.

According to the first advisory, some applications are installed on Mac OS X systems with insecure file permissions, so "many of the files and directories that compose various applications are globally writable." The problem with that, according to @Stake, is it allows attackers with limited access to the system to replace program files with files of their choice, thus obtaining "additional privileges from unsuspecting users who may run the replaced version of the binary (file)." "These Trojan binaries would escalate the privileges of the attacker to the privileges of the unsuspecting user who ran them," the advisory explains. The second issue, which only affects nondefault installations, may allow attackers to steal authentication details of other users on a system to which the hackers have restricted access. "In the event a system is running with core files enabled, attackers with interactive shell access can overwrite arbitrary files, and read core files created by root owned processes. This may result in sensitive information like authentication credentials being compromised," the advisory reads.

News source: C|Net News.com

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