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Apple Patches Actively Exploited iOS, macOS Zero-Days

Apple pushes out an urgent point-update to its flagship iOS and macOS platforms to fix a pair of security defects being exploited in the wild.

Apple patches exploited iOS zero-day

Apple on Thursday pushed out an urgent point-update to its flagship iOS and macOS platforms to fix a pair of security defects being exploited in the wild.

The vulnerabilities, fixed in the latest iOS 16.6.1 and macOS Ventura 13.5.2 releases, are credited to the Citizen Lab at The University of Torontoʼs Munk School, suggesting exploitation in commercial surveillance spyware products.

The Citizen Lab at The University of Torontoʼs Munk School actively tracks PSOAs (private sector offensive actors) and the expanding market for companies that sell hacking and exploitation tools and services.

According to an advisory from Cupertino’s security response team, both flaws could be exploited via rigged image files to launch code execution attacks.

From the bulletin:

  • CVE-2023-41064 (ImageIO) — A Processing a maliciously crafted image may lead to arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited. A buffer overflow issue was addressed with improved memory handling.
  • CVE-2023-41061 (Wallet) — A maliciously crafted attachment may result in arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited. A validation issue was addressed with improved logic.

Emergency patches for zero-day iOS and macOS flaws have become a regular occurrence as Apple struggles to keep pace with highly skilled attackers.

So far this year, Apple has rolled out fixes for 13 documented in-the-wild zero-days in iOS, iPadOS and macOS platforms.  The company has also shipped ‘Lockdown Mode’ in direct response to these attacks but the pace of exploitation has not slowed.

UPDATE: Citizen Lab has confirmed that these flaws were captured during exploitation activity linked to NSO Group’s Pegasus mercenary spyware.

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“Last week, while checking the device of an individual employed by a Washington DC-based civil society organization with international offices, Citizen Lab found an actively exploited zero-click vulnerability being used to deliver NSO Group’s Pegasus mercenary spyware,” Citizen Group said.

The research unit tagged the exploit chain as BLASTPASS and said it was capable of compromising iPhones running the latest version of iOS (16.6) without any interaction from the victim.

Citizen Lab warned that the exploit involved PassKit attachments containing malicious images sent from an attacker iMessage account to the victim.

Related: Apple Patches New macOS, iOS Zero-Days

Related: Apple Ships Urgent Fix for Under-Attack iOS Zero-Day

Related: Apple Ships Emergency Fixes for Exploited iOS Zero-Day

elated: Google Spots Attacks Exploiting iOS Zero-Day Flaws

Written By

Ryan Naraine is Editor-at-Large at SecurityWeek and host of the popular Security Conversations podcast series. He is a security community engagement expert who has built programs at major global brands, including Intel Corp., Bishop Fox and GReAT. Ryan is a founding-director of the Security Tinkerers non-profit, an advisor to early-stage entrepreneurs, and a regular speaker at security conferences around the world.

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