Software // Enterprise Applications
News
3/28/2008
01:49 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

MacBook Air Hacked In Two Minutes

Security researchers from Independent Security Evaluators managed to hack a MacBook Air using a zero-day vulnerability in Apple's Safari 3.1 Web browser.

Mac OS X's reputation for security was tarnished Thursday when a team of researchers from Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) managed to hack a MacBook Air in two minutes using a zero-day vulnerability in Apple's Safari 3.1 Web browser.

The ISE security researchers -- Charlie Miller, Jake Honoroff, and Mark Daniel -- were participating in the "PWN to OWN" competition at the CanSecWest security conference, which began Wednesday in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"Pwn" is computer gaming slang for "own," as in conquer. The "p" typo serves to heighten the humiliation of defeat by emphasizing that the loss came at the hands of a youth who can't even spell or type correctly. The term has also come to be used in security circles.

Contest participants had their choice of trying to hack an Apple MacBook Air running OS X 10.5.2, a Sony Vaio VGN-TZ37CN running Ubuntu 7.10, or a Fujitsu U810 running Vista Ultimate SP1. During the first day, when attacks were limited to network attacks on the operating system, no one managed to compromise any of the systems.

That changed Thursday when attacks on default client-side applications -- Web browser, e-mail, IM -- were allowed. The ISE team won $10,000 from security firm TippingPoint Technologies for compromising the MacBook Air.

The undisclosed vulnerability in Safari 3.1 has been shown to Apple and no further information about it will be revealed until Apple can issue an update, TippingPoint said.

In a blog post on Friday, TippingPoint said, "[S]ince the Vista and Ubuntu laptops are still standing unscathed, we are now opening up the scope of the targets beyond just default installed applications on those laptops; any popular third-party application (as deemed 'popular' by the judges) can now be installed on the laptops for a prize of $5,000 upon a successful compromise."

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.