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macOS Mojave Patches Vulnerabilities, But New Flaws Already Emerge

Apple on Monday released the latest version of its macOS operating system. macOS Mojave 10.14 introduces some security enhancements and patches several vulnerabilities, but a new flaw has already emerged.

macOS Mojave addresses a total of 8 vulnerabilities affecting components such as Bluetooth, App Store, Application Firewall, Auto Unlock, Crash Reporter, Kernel and Security.

The Bluetooth vulnerability is CVE-2018-5383, which researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology disclosed in July. The flaw can allow an attacker in physical proximity of two targeted devices to monitor and manipulate the traffic they exchange. The issue was previously resolved by Apple in both iOS and macOS High Sierra.

In fact, many of the vulnerabilities mentioned in Apple’s advisory for Mojave security updates were previously patched in iOS.

The list of apparently new flaws patched in the latest macOS version includes an App Store bug that allows a malicious app to determine the Apple ID belonging to the targeted device’s owner (CVE-2018-4324) and an application firewall issue that can be exploited by a sandboxed process to bypass restrictions (CVE-2018-4353).

Interestingly, Apple says macOS Mojave removes support for the RC4 encryption algorithm due to the existence of CVE-2016-1777, an old vulnerability that the tech giant first patched in macOS Sierra back in 2016.

Just hours before Apple released Mojave, security researcher Patrick Wardle published a video apparently showing a potentially serious flaw that can be exploited to bypass some of the operating system’s privacy protections.

Wardle, who is the co-founder and chief research officer of enterprise macOS security company Digita Security, discovered that a malicious application can obtain data from a user’s address book despite not having the necessary permissions. The researcher has not made any technical details public to prevent abuse.

[0day] Bypassing Mojave's Privacy Protections from patrick wardle on Vimeo.

SecurityWeek has reached out to Apple to learn if it’s aware of the issue and will update this article if the company responds.

This is not the first time Wardle has disclosed a vulnerability that can lead to a security bypass and exposure of sensitive information. Last year he found a flaw that could have been exploited by malicious apps to steal passwords from the Keychain, and a method for bypassing the Secure Kernel Extension Loading (SKEL) security feature introduced in macOS High Sierra. The SKEL bypass was disclosed just days before the official release of High Sierra.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.