Feeds

Microsoft Mac man exposes Apple iTools security hole

Core browser plug-in sends passwords as plain text. Oh dear...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Apple's new iTools Web enhancements for Mac owners contain a major security flaw which exposes users' passwords, according to a member of Microsoft's Mac development team writing on MacInTouch. iTools offloads what are usually server-based operations onto client Macs via a Web browser plug-in that each user must download to use the Apple service. According to developer Brad Pettit, who works on the development of the Mac version of Internet Explorer, the plug-in communicates with the server using XML. Pettit discovered that the plug-in transmits the user's password, presumably held locally to ensure users don't need to enter it every time they visit the iTools Web site or to activate their 20MB of remote storage (dubbed iDisk), as plain text. "One could theoretically control the plug-in from any link that loads content into your Web browser. And you wouldn't even know it," he says. There's a privacy angle here too, says Pettit. His study of the plug-in has found software capable of "gathering and sending all sorts of machine-specific data to Apple, such as hardware ethernet addresses! Since the plug-in also contains all the function names (one is named 'ExplorerSucksTheLifeOutOfMe') and even an 'Apple Need To Know Confidential' resource". Of course, as a Microsoft employee, there's an element of pots calling kettles black here when it comes to snagging data about users' systems, but it's still worrying that Apple may well be getting up to the kind of tricks the likes of Microsoft, RealNetworks and others have been slammed for in the past by privacy groups. Apple's own policy statement reads: "If you browse Apple's web site, you do so anonymously. We don't collect personal information -- including your e-mail address." Even though the statement doesn't refer to iTools specifically, we presume that Apple will honour its word and not use the plug-in to swipe personal data. After all, they'd never do that, would they? ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.