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Researcher outlines way to exfiltrate Mac passwords Featured

Some of the gloss has been taken off Apple's release of its High Sierra update for macOS on Monday, with ex-NSA hacker Patrick Wardle demonstrating a way to steal plaintext passwords that are stored in the Mac keychain.

Wardle, who now works as chief security researcher at a company known as Synack, posted a video of a way to exfiltrate passwords using a vulnerability that he said he had informed Apple about.

Passwords are stored in the Mac's keychain and one requires a master password to access the vault in which they are stored.

Applications that are installed on a Mac are not meant to be able to access the keychain unless the user enters a master password.

But the flaw that Wardle found apparently allows apps to exfiltrate every plaintext password without requiring any master password.

Wardle said in a tweet that he had notified Apple about the vulnerability and also provided the company with a detailed description and proof-of-concept exploit code.

Apple apparently chose not to fix the bug before the release on Monday.

While Wardle demonstrated the vulnerability using an unsigned app, it can also be exploited by signed apps.

This is the second vulnerability that Wardle has found in macOS this month.

At the beginning of September, he published a post outlining how High Sierra's Secure Kernel Extension Loading was broken.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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