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Category:   OS (UNIX)  >   Apple macOS/OS X Vendors:   Apple
Apple OS X Firmware Write-Protection Flaw Lets Local Users Gain Elevated Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1032444
SecurityTracker URL:  http://securitytracker.com/id/1032444
CVE Reference:   CVE-2015-3692, CVE-2015-3693   (Links to External Site)
Updated:  Jul 1 2015
Original Entry Date:  Jun 2 2015
Impact:   Root access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  Exploit Included:  Yes  
Version(s): 10.8.5, 10.9.5, 10.10 to 10.10.3
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in Apple OS X. A local user can obtain elevated privileges on the target system.

The firmware does not properly write-protect the BIOS after entering and exiting sleep mode within the current session. A local user with root privileges can write to the BIOS. This can be exploited to write code to the firmware that will remain persistent after the system reboots.

[Editor's note: The report indicates that systems produced in and after mid-2014 appear to be unaffected. Also, the vulnerability appears to reside in Apple Mac firmware rather than in the OS X operating system.]

The original advisory is available at:

https://reverse.put.as/2015/05/29/the-empire-strikes-back-apple-how-your-mac-firmware-security-is-completely-broken/

Pedro Vilaca reported this vulnerability.

[Editor's note: The vendor also credits Trammell Hudson of Two Sigma Investments and Xeno Kovah and Corey Kallenberg of LegbaCore LLC with reporting this vulnerability.

Impact:   A local user with root privileges can obtain BIOS firmware privileges on the target system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fix (Security Update 2015-001, OS X 10.10.4).

The vendor's advisory is available at:

https://support.apple.com/kb/HT204934

Vendor URL:  support.apple.com/kb/HT204934 (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Access control error

Message History:   None.


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