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Practical Mac OS X Insecurity

Mac OS X
Angelo Laub
Chaos Communication Congress 21th (21C3) 2004
Indexed on
Mar 27, 2013
File name
File size
77.8 KB

Some recent security problems with Mac OS X stem from the fact that Apple tries to combine the Unix security model with easy and convient usability and closed source. Showing examples from our own research we will take you on a pleasant journey to get root on almost any recent Macintosh. And of course, there will be "just one more thing". While rumors have it that Mac OS X is extremely secure due to its open-source Darwin core and the elaborate Unix security model, little is known about practical problems that hide under its hood. While the lack of serious worms and other malware for the Mac might give users a false sense of security, things aren't that pretty once you dig deeper in the system. SUID root programs, closed-source security components, and badly-chosen default settings pile up to a security nightmare waiting to happen. We will give an overview of the problems, demonstrate example code, and give you an insight into communication problems with Apple support on security issues. Both problems with Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) and the future version 10.4 (Tiger) will be addressed. As you can expect from any decent Apple presentation, be prepared for "one more thing".

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