Feeds

Mac OS X gets rootkit coding manual

Filling the void

Security for virtualized 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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.