Italian teen finds two zero-day vulnerabilities in OS X

The exploit he developed yields root access

An Italian security researcher says he's found two zero-day vulnerabilities in OS X.

An Italian security researcher says he's found two zero-day vulnerabilities in OS X.

An Italian teenager has found two zero-day vulnerabilities in Apple's OS X operating system that could be used to gain remote access to a computer.

The finding comes after Apple patched last week a local privilege escalation vulnerability that was used by some miscreants to load questionable programs onto computers.

Luca Todesco, 18, posted details of the exploit he developed on GitHub. The exploit uses two bugs to cause a memory corruption in OS X's kernel, he wrote via email.

The memory corruption condition can then be used to circumvent kernel address space layout randomization (kASLR), a defensive technique designed to thwart exploit code from running. The attacker then gains a root shell.

The exploit code works in OS X versions 10.9.5 through 10.10.5. It is fixed in OS X 10.11, the beta version of the next Apple OS nicknamed El Capitan.

Todesco, who said he does security research in his spare time, said he notified Apple of the problems "a few hours before the exploit was published."

"This is not due to me having issues with Apple's patch policies/time frames, as others have incorrectly reported," he wrote.

He also developed a patch called NULLGuard, which he's included in the GitHub material. Since he does not have a Mac developer certificate, he wrote that he can't distribute an easy-to-install version of the patch.

Apple officials could be not immediately reached for comment.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags ApplesecurityExploits / vulnerabilities

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?