Bleck: Mac OS X vunerablity

Update: Fix available from Apple, just do a software update.

There is an ugly vunerablity in Mac OS X. I assume that if you avoid the internet for a day or two Apple will have a patch; but it’s ugly.

The gist is that if the browser visits certain places (which of course a site can trigger with popups, or redirecting) and those places are named in a particular way, then bad things can happen. They can open up the help tool on the Mac. The help tool has a ugly security hole. That hole enables all kinds of bad things.

More tedious explaination…

The Help Viewer can be instructed via a URL to run arbitrary AppleScripts, and hence shell scripts. For example this URL:

       help:runscript=../../Scripts/Info Scripts/Current Date & Time.scpt

Much more malicious examples are trivially constructed.

No patch available.

Work around…
Disable the help: and disk: protocol handlers; by setting them to invoke a more harmless application; for example Chess.

To edit the protocol handler dispatch table you need an additional system preference’s pane; i.e.
“More Internet”. Found here:

     
http://www.monkeyfood.com/software/moreInternet/

More info ...
   http://secunia.com/advisories/11622/
   http://www.jayallen.org/journey/2004/05/mac_os_x_highly_critical_security_flaw
  http://mamamusings.net/archives/2004/05/18/serious_os_x_security_problem.php
   http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/005217.html#005217

It’s still early in the day, so this will probably unfold further.

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