Tethered jailbreaks are back
> checkm8 exploits the Boot ROM to allow anyone with physical control of a phone to run arbitrary code. The Boot ROM, also called the Secure ROM, is the first code that executes when an iPhone is powered on and cannot be changed, because it’s “burned in” to the iPhone’s hardware. The Boot ROM initializes the system and eventually passes control to the kernel. It’s the root of trust for the trusted boot chain of iOS and verifies the integrity of the next stage of the boot process before passing execution control.
iphone 11 pro camera review
A very deep dive into iOS Exploit chains found in the wild
> Earlier this year Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) discovered a small collection of hacked websites. The hacked sites were being used in indiscriminate watering hole attacks against their visitors, using iPhone 0-day.
> There was no target discrimination; simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant. We estimate that these sites receive thousands of visitors per week.
> TAG was able to collect five separate, complete and unique iPhone exploit chains, covering almost every version from iOS 10 through to the latest version of iOS 12. This indicated a group making a sustained effort to hack the users of iPhones in certain communities over a period of at least two years.
> I’ll investigate what I assess to be the root causes of the vulnerabilities and discuss some insights we can gain into Apple’s software development lifecycle. The root causes I highlight here are not novel and are often overlooked: we’ll see cases of code which seems to have never worked, code that likely skipped QA or likely had little testing or review before being shipped to users.
APRR - Access Protection ReRouting
> Almost a year ago I did a write-up on KTRR, first introduced in Apple’s A10 chip series. Now over the course of the last year, there has been a good bit of talk as well as confusion about the new mitigations shipped with Apple’s A12. One big change, PAC, has already been torn down in detail by Brandon Azad, so I’m gonna leave that out here. What’s left to cover is more than just APRR, but APRR is certainly the biggest chunk, hence the title of this post.
> APRR is a pretty cool feature, even if parts of it are kinda broke. What I really like about it (besides the fact that it is an efficient and elegant solution to switching privileges) is that it untangles EL1 and EL0 memory permissions, giving you more flexibility than a standard ARMv8 implementation. What I don’t like though is that it has clearly been designed as a lockdown feature, allowing you only to take permissions away rather than freely remap them.
> It’s also evident that Apple is really fond of post-exploit mitigations, or just mitigations in general. And on one hand, getting control over the physical address space is a good bit harder now. But on the other hand, Apple’s stacking of mitigations is taking a problematic turn when adding new mitigations actively creates vulnerabilities now.
The Fully Remote Attack Surface of the iPhone
> We investigated the remote attack surface of the iPhone, and reviewed SMS, MMS, VVM, Email and iMessage. Several tools which can be used to further test these attack surfaces were released. We reported a total of 10 vulnerabilities, all of which have since been fixed. The majority of vulnerabilities occurred in iMessage due to its broad and difficult to enumerate attack surface. Most of this attack surface is not part of normal use, and does not have any benefit to users. Visual Voicemail also had a large and unintuitive attack surface that likely led to a single serious vulnerability being reported in it. Overall, the number and severity of the remote vulnerabilities we found was substantial. Reducing the remote attack surface of the iPhone would likely improve its security.
Memory Unsafety in Apple's Operating Systems
> Rather than just talking about a single release, what if we aggregated the total memory unsafety-related vulnerability statistics in Apple’s two flagship operating systems: iOS and macOS?
> Across the entirety of iOS 12 Apple has fixed 261 CVEs, 173 of which were memory unsafety. That’s 66.3% of all vulnerabilities.
Running iOS in QEMU to an interactive bash shell (1): tutorial
> While wanting to do some iOS security research and inspired by the work done by zhuowei, I decided to try and get this emulation project further along the boot process. The goal was to get the system to boot without having to patch the kernel beforehand or during the boot process, have new modules that extend QEMU’s capabilities to execute arm64 XNU systems and, get an interactive bash shell. This post is the first post in a 2-post series, in which I will present instructions for executing iOS on QEMU and launching an interactive bash shell. In the second post, I will detail some of the research that was required in order to get there. For this project, the iOS version and device that were chosen are iOS 12.1 and iPhone 6s Plus, because this specific iOS 12 image comes with a lot of symbols exported in the kernel image compared to other iOS kernel images that are usually stripped of most symbols.
How does Apple (privately) find your offline devices?
> A big caveat: much of this could be totally wrong. I’ll update it relentlessly when Apple tells us more.
> Since this is a security system, the first question you should ask is: who’s the bad guy? The answer in this setting is unfortunate: everyone is potentially a bad guy. That’s what makes this problem so exciting.
It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?
> On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone. At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of other trackers to pair up with.
SensorID Sensor Calibration Fingerprinting for Smartphones
> We have developed a new type of fingerprinting attack, the calibration fingerprinting attack. Our attack uses data gathered from the accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer sensors found in smartphones to construct a globally unique fingerprint.
Splitting atoms in XNU
> A locking bug in the XNU virtual memory subsystem allowed violation of the preconditions required for the correctness of an optimized virtual memory operation. This was abused to create shared memory where it wasn’t expected, allowing the creation of a time-of-check-time-of-use bug where one wouldn’t usually exist. This was exploited to cause a heap overflow in XPC, which was used to trigger the execution of a jump-oriented payload which chained together arbitrary function calls in an unsandboxed root process, even in the presence of Apple’s implementation of ARM’s latest Pointer Authentication Codes (PAC) hardware mitigation. The payload opened a privileged socket and sent the file descriptor back to the sandboxed process, where it was used to trigger a kernel heap overflow only reachable from outside the sandbox.
This is excellent work.
Examining Pointer Authentication on the iPhone XS
> Among the most exciting security features introduced with ARMv8.3-A is Pointer Authentication, a feature where the upper bits of a pointer are used to store a Pointer Authentication Code (PAC), which is essentially a cryptographic signature on the pointer value and some additional context. Special instructions have been introduced to add an authentication code to a pointer and to verify an authenticated pointer’s PAC and restore the original pointer value. This gives the system a way to make cryptographically strong guarantees about the likelihood that certain pointers have been tampered with by attackers, which offers the possibility of greatly improving application security.
> Despite these flaws, PAC remains a solid and worthwhile mitigation. Apple’s hardening of PAC in the A12 SoC, which was clearly designed to protect against kernel attackers with read/write, meant that I did not find a systematic break in the design and had to rely on signing gadgets, which are easy to patch via software. As with any complex new mitigation, loopholes are not uncommon in the first few iterations. However, given the fragility of the current bypass technique (relying on, among other things, the single IOUserClient class that allows us to overwrite its IOExternalTrap, one of a very small number of usable PACIZA gadgets, and a handful of non-PAC’d JOP gadgets introduced by obfuscation), I believe it’s possible for Apple to harden their implementation to the point that strong forgery bypasses become rare.
Major iPhone FaceTime bug lets you hear the audio of the person you are calling … before they pick up
> The bug lets you call anyone with FaceTime, and immediately hear the audio coming from their phone — before the person on the other end has accepted or rejected the incoming call. Apple says the issue will be addressed in a software update “later this week”.
I never understand how bugs like this happen. How does the microphone get opened before the user presses ok? Why does that codepath even exist?
phone thieves forcing victims at gunpoint to disable “find my iPhone”
> My understanding is that “find my iPhone” has measurably reduced phone robberies. This escalation was probably inevitable, but it seems like the feature could probably be engineered to make it more difficult for thieves to force a victim to disable it on the spot.
The iOS Menu
> So I set out to make the best menus I could make for iOS. For simple apps, menus aren’t necessary, and that’s great. But Codea isn’t a simple app and there’s nothing I can do about that.
Why Is the Split Keyboard Not Available on iPad Pros?
> The bottom line is that because I want to thumb-type, I type better on-screen with my iPhone than I do my iPad, and I can type better on an old iPad than my new one that cost $1,000. This is just baffling to me — so much so that until I found Apple’s support document confirming that the split keyboard is not available on 11-inch or bigger iPad Pros that I thought maybe the problem was me not knowing how to turn it on.
Conservation of entropy requires that new products not be strictly better than old ones.
An introduction to exploiting userspace race conditions on iOS
> Let’s walk through the discovery and exploitation of CVE-2018-4331, a race condition in the com.apple.GSSCred XPC service that could be used to execute arbitrary code inside the GSSCred process, which runs as root on macOS and iOS. The exploit, gsscred-race, targets iOS 11.2, although versions up through iOS 11.4.1 are vulnerable. This post will show how I discovered the bug, how I analyzed its exploitability, and how I developed a JOP program that allowed me to take control of the process.
Although in practice it’s maybe more interesting on macos?
> On macOS, GSSCred runs outside of any sandbox, meaning once we get the task port we have unsandboxed arbitrary code execution as root.
Getting the iPad to Pro
> I have a near endless bag of these nits to share. For the last year I’ve kept a text file of all the walls I’ve run into using an iPad Pro as a pro machine. Is this all too pedantic? Maybe. But it’s also kind of fun. When’s the last time we’ve been able to watch a company really figure out a new OS in public?
Real time numbers recognition (MNIST) on an iPhone with CoreML from A to Z
> Learn how to build and train a deep learning network to recognize numbers (MNIST),how to convert it in the CoreML format to then deploy it on your iPhoneX and make it recognize numbers in realtime!
SMT Solving on an iPhone
> I’ve been seeing discussion for a while about the incredible progress Apple’s processor design team is making, and how it won’t be too long until Macs use Apple’s own ARM processors. These reports usually cite some cross-platform benchmarks like Geekbench to show that Apple’s mobile processors are at least as fast as Intel’s laptop and desktop chips. But I’ve always been a little skeptical of these cross-platform benchmarks (as are others)—do they really represent the sorts of workloads I use my Macs for?
At least one practical benchmark.