Apple MacOS X Insecure Default Permissions Vulnerability

A vulnerability exists in versions of Apple MacOS X.

Due to a misconfiguration of file permissions, the destop folder belonging to a given user is by default world-readable/writable. If the folder's permissions are not manually reset, arbitrary users can read from and write to any files in this location. In addition to the potential loss of confidentiality and integrity of this data, if this folder contains security-sensitive information such as usernames, passwords or configuration information, a hostile user may be able to exploit it and further undermine the security of the host.

Note that some users have reported MacOS X 10.0.4 systems which do not exhibit this vulnerability.

Etaoin Shrdlu <shrdlu@deaddrop.org> notes that this issue may be applicable to accounts created during the Max OS X beta test period: "Sounds like the problem accounts were upgrades from beta versions. If you are running an upgrade from a beta, then you might want to take a second look. Fresh installs seem to be just fine."

An attempt has been made to fix this issue in MacOS X 10.1.
However, installing the MacOS X 10.1 upgrade will still leave users created before the upgrade with the insecure default permissions. This includes the admin account if permissions are not changed manually before the upgrade.


 

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