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A Vulnerability in Apple Products Could Allow for Arbitrary Code Execution

MS-ISAC ADVISORY NUMBER:

2020-074

DATE(S) ISSUED:

06/02/2020

OVERVIEW:

A vulnerability has been discovered in macOS, iOS, WatchOS, iPadOS, and tvOS which could allow for arbitrary code execution.

  • iOS is a mobile operating system for Apple cellphones.
  • macOS is a desktop operating system for Macintosh computers
  • iPadOS is a mobile operating system for Apple tablets.
  • WatchOS is an operating system for Apple watches.
  • tvOS is an operating system for the Apple media streaming device Apple TV.

Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could result in arbitrary code execution with kernel privileges, an attacker gaining the same privileges as the kernel can bypass security restrictions. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than those who operate with administrative user rights.

THREAT INTELLIGENCE:

There are currently reports of a jailbreak (unc0ver) using this vulnerability in the wild.

SYSTEMS AFFECTED:

  • macOS prior to Catalina 10.15.5, Security Update 2020-003 High Sierra
  • iOS prior to 13.5.1
  • iPadOS prior 13.5.1
  • tvOS prior to 13.4.6
  • watchOS prior to 6.2.6

RISK:

Government:
  • Large and medium government entities: HIGH
  • Small government entities: MEDIUM
Businesses:
  • Large and medium business entities: HIGH
  • Small business entities: MEDIUM
Home Users:
LOW

TECHNICAL SUMMARY:

A vulnerability has been discovered in macOS, IOS, WatchOS, IpadOS, and tvOS. The vulnerability could allow for arbitrary code execution. A memory consumption issue allowed an application to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges this issue was addressed by apple by implementing improved memory handling.

Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could result in arbitrary code execution within the context of the kernel, an attacker would gain the same privileges as the kernel, and be able to bypass security restrictions. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system and could be less impacted than those who operate with administrative user rights. Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities could allow the attacker to execute remote code on the affected system.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

We recommend the following actions be taken:

  • Apply appropriate patches provided by Apple to vulnerable systems immediately after appropriate testing.
  • Run all software as a non-privileged user (one without administrative privileges) to diminish the effects of a successful attack.
  • Remind users not to download, accept, or execute files from un-trusted or unknown sources.
  • Remind users not to visit untrusted websites or follow links provided by unknown or un-trusted sources.
  • Apply the Principle of Least Privilege to all systems and services.

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