Security researchers lambasted the controversial macOS Significant Sur function for exposing users’ sensitive facts.
Apple has removed a contentious macOS function that authorized some Apple applications to bypass content material filters, VPNs and third-party firewalls.
The element, to start with uncovered in November in a beta launch of the macOS Significant Sur characteristic, was identified as “ContentFilterExclusionList” and included a record of at least 50 Apple apps – together with Maps, Music, FaceTime, the Application Retailer and its application update assistance. It has been just lately taken out in macOS Big Sur variations 11.2, Apple professionals pointed out this 7 days.
“After a lot of undesirable push and lots of comments/bug studies to Apple from developers this sort of as myself, it would seem wiser (extra security acutely aware) minds at Cupertino prevailed,” explained Patrick Wardle, principal security researcher with Jamf, this week. “The ContentFilterExclusionList list has been taken out (in macOS 11.2 beta 2).”
Scientists observed these apps were excluded from being controlled by Apple’s NEFilterDataProvider element. NEFilterDataProvider is a basic network written content filter, which is applied by third-party application firewalls (these types of as host-based macOS application firewall Very little Snitch) and VPNs to filter facts site visitors movement on an application-by-application basis.
Mainly because these applications bypassed NEFilterDataProvider, the service could not keep an eye on them to see how a great deal info they have been transferring or which IP addresses they ended up communicating with – and finally could not block them if something was amiss.
Following identifying the undocumented exclusion record back in November, security researchers criticized Apple, declaring it was a liability that can be exploited by risk actors to bypass firewalls, give them access to people’s devices and expose their sensitive data.
“Many (rightfully) questioned, ‘What great is a firewall if it just can’t block all website traffic?’ I of program also wondered if malware could abuse these ‘excluded’ merchandise to deliver network website traffic that could surreptitiously bypass any socket filter firewall,” explained Wardle. “Unfortunately the remedy was sure.”
The new alter signifies that firewalls these kinds of as LuLu – an open-supply firewall that blocks outgoing unknown connections on Macs – can now comprehensively filter and block network targeted traffic for all Apple apps, Wardle explained.
Omg we did it! 🤩
Many thanks to the local community responses (and ya, poor push) Apple determined to eliminate the ContentFilterExclusionList (in 11.2 beta 2)
Implies socket filter firewalls (e.g. LuLu) can now comprehensively observe/block all OS traffic!!
Go through a lot more: https://t.co/GJXkRA31e7 https://t.co/BCPqdCjkV0
— patrick wardle (@patrickwardle) January 13, 2021
Threatpost has arrived at out to Apple for even further data about ContentFilterExclusionList and its elimination.
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