OS X Exploits and Defense

OS X Exploits and Defense

Own it...Just Like Windows or Linux!

1st Edition - April 25, 2008

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  • Authors: Paul Baccas, Kevin Finisterre, Larry H., David Harley, Gary Porteus, Chris Hurley, Johnny Long
  • Paperback ISBN: 9781597492546
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080558769

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Contrary to popular belief, there has never been any shortage of Macintosh-related security issues. OS9 had issues that warranted attention. However, due to both ignorance and a lack of research, many of these issues never saw the light of day. No solid techniques were published for executing arbitrary code on OS9, and there are no notable legacy Macintosh exploits. Due to the combined lack of obvious vulnerabilities and accompanying exploits, Macintosh appeared to be a solid platform. Threats to Macintosh's OS X operating system are increasing in sophistication and number. Whether it is the exploitation of an increasing number of holes, use of rootkits for post-compromise concealment or disturbed denial of service, knowing why the system is vulnerable and understanding how to defend it is critical to computer security. Macintosh OS X Boot Process and Forensic Software All the power, all the tools, and all the geekery of Linux is present in Mac OS X. Shell scripts, X11 apps, processes, kernel extensions...it's a UNIX platform....Now, you can master the boot process, and Macintosh forensic software Look Back Before the Flood and Forward Through the 21st Century Threatscape Back in the day, a misunderstanding of Macintosh security was more or less industry-wide. Neither the administrators nor the attackers knew much about the platform. Learn from Kevin Finisterre how and why that has all changed! Malicious Macs: Malware and the Mac As OS X moves further from desktops, laptops, and servers into the world of consumer technology (iPhones, iPods, and so on), what are the implications for the further spread of malware and other security breaches? Find out from David Harley Malware Detection and the Mac Understand why the continuing insistence of vociferous Mac zealots that it "can't happen here" is likely to aid OS X exploitationg Mac OS X for Pen Testers With its BSD roots, super-slick graphical interface, and near-bulletproof reliability, Apple's Mac OS X provides a great platform for pen testing WarDriving and Wireless Penetration Testing with OS X Configure and utilize the KisMAC WLAN discovery tool to WarDrive. Next, use the information obtained during a WarDrive, to successfully penetrate a customer's wireless network Leopard and Tiger Evasion Follow Larry Hernandez through exploitation techniques, tricks, and features of both OS X Tiger and Leopard, using real-world scenarios for explaining and demonstrating the concepts behind them Encryption Technologies and OS X Apple has come a long way from the bleak days of OS9. THere is now a wide array of encryption choices within Mac OS X. Let Gareth Poreus show you what they are.

Key Features

  • Cuts through the hype with a serious discussion of the security vulnerabilities of the Mac OS X operating system
  • Reveals techniques by which OS X can be "owned"
  • Details procedures to defeat these techniques
  • Offers a sober look at emerging threats and trends


Information security professionals, network administrators, system analysts and administrators, penetration testers, software and technical engineers

Table of Contents

  • 1. Overview: The OS X operating system
    2. Current and past threats
    3. Vulnerabilities
    4. Malicious Code
    5. Exploit development and research
    6. Rootkits
    7. Defense and protection
    8. Detecting malicious code; rootkits
    9. Protecting against exploits
    10. Locking down services and firewall policies
    11. Future threats and malicious advancements facing OS X

Product details

  • No. of pages: 352
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Syngress 2008
  • Published: April 25, 2008
  • Imprint: Syngress
  • Paperback ISBN: 9781597492546
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080558769

About the Authors

Paul Baccas

Paul Baccas is a researcher at Sophos plc, the UK security company. After reading Engineering Science at Exeter College, Oxford, he worked in various technical roles at Sophos, and is now mainly engaged in spam research. He is a frequent contributor to Virus Bulletin.

Affiliations and Expertise

Sophos plc, UK

Kevin Finisterre

Kevin Finisterre is the former Head of Research and Co-founder of SNOSoft, Inc. aka Secure Network Operations. Kevin's primary focus has been on the dissemination of information relating to the identification and exploitation of software vulnerabilities on various platforms. Apple, IBM, SAP, Oracle, Symantec, and HP are among many vendors that have had problems that were identified by Kevin. Kevin is currently very active in the Apple research and exploitation scene. He enjoys testing the limits and is constantly dedicated to thinking outside the box. His current brainchild is the project he calls DigitalMunition.com.

Affiliations and Expertise

Former Head of Research and Co-founder of SNOSoft, Inc. aka Secure Network Operations

Larry H.

Larry H. has been doing security research on the Macintosh platform for over 2 years (since mid 2006), with strong focus on kernel land security and implementation of proactive defense mechanisms for both Linux and the XNU kernel. Even though computers aren't his main occupation, he enjoys developing new and improving existent exploitation and IDS evasion techniques, as well as researching on secure OS design, security policy frameworks (MAC, RBAC, MLS, etc) and applied data mining. Even though this all sounds pretty serious, he enjoys humor for the banter as well as reading through the King James Bible quite frequently.

Affiliations and Expertise

Security Researcher on the Macintosh Platform

David Harley

David Harley has been researching and writing about malicious software and other security issues since the end of the 1980s. From 2001 to 2006 he worked in the UK's National Health Service as a National Infrastructure Security Manager, where he specialized in the management of malicious software and all forms of email abuse, as well as running the Threat Assessment Centre, and has worked since as an independent author and consultant for Small Blue-Green World. He joined ESET's Research team in January 2008. He was co-author of Viruses Revealed (McGraw-Hill) and lead author and technical editor of The AVIEN Malware Defense Guide for the Enterprise (Syngress), as well as a contributor to Botnets: the Killer Web App (Syngress). He has contributed chapters to many other books on security and education for publishers such as Wiley, Pearson and Vieweg, as well as a multitude of specialist articles and conference papers. In his copious free time he is Chief Operations Officer for AVIEN (the Anti-Virus Information Exchange Network) and administers the MAC Virus web site.

Affiliations and Expertise

Formerly UK's National Health Service, National Infrastructure Security Manager, Independent author and consultant for Small Blue-Green World and Chief Operations Officer, AVIEN (the Anti-Virus Information Exchange Network)

Gary Porteus

Gary Porteous is a Professional Security Researcher based in the UK and a keen advocate of open source projects. A hacker in the old sense of the word, as someone who creatively dissects and reconstructs technology, Gary feels both at home tinkering with small finite problem solving as considering the pattern of modern technology and it's larger implications. Having been involved with Macintosh security since 1998, more recently he has worked as a systems engineer and consultant, and is currently employed as a Macintosh computer expert in the UK educational sector. Alongside all this he enjoys escaping to the countryside whenever possible and helping to run the organization AppleseedUK (www.appleseeduk.org).

Affiliations and Expertise

Professional Security Researcher, UK

Chris Hurley

Chris Hurley is a Senior Penetration Tester in the Washington, DC area. He has more than 10 years of experience performing penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, and general INFOSEC grunt work. He is the founder of the WorldWide WarDrive, a four-year project to assess the security posture of wireless networks deployed throughout the world. Chris was also the original organizer of the DEF CON WarDriving contest. He is the lead author of WarDriving: Drive, Detect, Defend (Syngress Publishing, ISBN: 19318360305). He has contributed to several other Syngress publications, including Penetration Tester's Open Source Toolkit (ISBN: 1-5974490210), Stealing the Network: How to Own an Identity (ISBN: 1597490067), InfoSec Career Hacking (ISBN: 1597490113), and OS X for Hackers at Heart (ISBN: 1597490407). He has a BS from Angelo State University in Computer Science and a whole bunch of certifications to make himself feel important.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Penetration Tester, Washington, DC, USA

Johnny Long

Johnny Long is a Christian by grace, a professional hacker by trade, a pirate by blood, a ninja in training, a security researcher and author. He can be found lurking at his website (http://johnny.ihackstuff.com). He is the founder of Hackers For Charity(http://ihackcharities.org), an organization that provides hackers with job experience while leveraging their skills for charities that need those skills.

Affiliations and Expertise

Security Researcher, Founder of Hackers For Charity

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