Fake password resets due to fault in the Apple Operating System Reviews

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Fake password resets due to fault in the Apple Operating System

By: Rex Inego | Sep 21, 2011 09:38 AM

It has been brought to the notice of the users that a serious error has occurred in the Apple Operating System ‘Mac OS X 10.7’. The attackers can reset passwords without knowing the existing password. Patrick Dunstand, a researcher has disclosed on the ‘Defence in Depth’ blog that the Operating System has a couple of permission problems. One of them is that the shadow files which should be opened only by the high level authority has become easy accessible. The other one is that an important step has been skipped while redesigning the authentication scheme of ‘OS X Lion’. In normal case the non-root users cannot open the shadow files. But due to the flaw, the non-root users can do so. They can read the password hash particulars. This is made possible by drawing data directly from ‘Directory Services’. In short, this problem enables changing of password. That means there is no need to crack the hashes. Dunstand ridiculed that Directory Services in Lion does not seem to require validation when the current user asks for a change of password. The new password can be entered without the authentication. Chester Wisniewski of Sophos Canada remarked the error is all the more dangerous for those using the ‘FileVault 2’ disk encryption of Apple. By chance if someone altered the genuine user’s password if the Mac was unlocked then the genuine user will not be able to even start the computer, leave alone accessing the data. He confirms that the flaw is not yet rectified.

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