Feeds

Mac OS X gets rootkit coding manual

Filling the void

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Over the past decade, the world has seen advances in rootkits running on Windows and Unix operating systems that few would have thought possible. Now, it's Mac OS X's turn, as a security researcher plans to share a variety of techniques for developing the ultra-stealthy programs for the Apple platform.

At a talk titled Advanced Mac OS X rootkits at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas next week, researcher Dino Dai Zovi plans to discuss specific features in the OS that make it possible to write rootkits that are virtually impossible for untrained users to detect.

"Most of the existing research (into) rootkits for OS X essentially take older Unix-based ideas and port them to OS X," Dai Zovi told The Register. "Mine primarily uses the unique features of OS X and this makes it harder to detect the traditional tools and techniques."

As just another Mach-based operating system, OS X is chock full of instructions that make sneaky rootkits possible. And yet there's been little documentation, so far, of exactly what they are and how they can be used. Dai Zovi's talk aims to fill the vacuum by showing how to extend native Mach RPC mechanisms that communicate with the Mac kernel.

"It's not an inherent weakness in the system," said Dai Zovi, co-author of the Mac Hacker's Handbook. "It's just extending the flexibility of the microkernel-based design in a malicious direction."

Dai Zovi also plans to deliver a much shorter "turbo talk" discussing ways penetration testers can test the security of Macs using the Metasploit Project. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.