Apple Fixes ‘Misleading’ Leopard Firewall Settings

Apple has admitted that is has at LEAST three serious design weaknesses in it’s new application based firewall being rolled out with Mac OS X ‘Leopard’.

It comes (somewhat oddly) only 24 hours after a Mac OS X security update that fixed 41 OS X and Safari security vulnerabilities.

Previously independent researchers proved that Apple’s claim that the Leopard firewall could block all incoming connections was false.

In an advisory accompanying the Mac OS X v10.5.1 update, Apple admitted that the “Block all incoming connections” setting for the firewall is misleading.

“The ‘Block all incoming connections’ setting for the Application Firewall allows any process running as user “root” (UID 0) to receive incoming connections, and also allows mDNSResponder to receive connections. This could result in the unexpected exposure of network services,” Apple said.

With the fix, the firewall will more accurately describe the option as “Allow only essential services”, and by limiting the processes permitted to receive incoming connections under this setting to a small fixed set of system services, Apple said

Sounds like they are back-pedaling rather fast. They also addressed two other issues with the application based firewall.

CVE-2007-4703: The “Set access for specific services and applications” setting for the Application Firewall allows any process running as user “root” (UID 0) to receive incoming connections, even if its executable is specifically added to the list of programs and its entry in the list is marked as “Block incoming connections”. This could result in the unexpected exposure of network services.

CVE-2007-4704: When the Application Firewall settings are changed, a running process started by launchd will not be affected until it is restarted. A user might expect changes to take effect immediately and so leave their system exposed to network access.

So watch out, Apple is not the panacea of security as some people claim it to be.

Source: ZDNet

Posted in: Apple, Hacking News

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8 Responses to Apple Fixes ‘Misleading’ Leopard Firewall Settings

  1. dirty November 21, 2007 at 9:34 pm #

    You know…this is such a touchy subject with Mac users. At least the ones that bought a Mac thinking that it is 100% failsafe and came to that conclusion because other snotty Mac users told them that was true. I own an Intel Mac and multiple Win boxes, so personally I believe that the Mac is an awesome computers, however it is not completely safe from blackhats.

    I like Macs but they are pretty much status symbols. Go in any coffee house in NYC, SF, LA and all the cool kids have Macs and look down upon any Windows users….

  2. Darknet November 22, 2007 at 10:10 am #

    Yeah I agree, Apple fanboi’s are some of the most illogical people around. No doubt OSX is a great OS and very useable, as it’s based on BSD it has stability, and they spent their R&D dollars making it look good and easy to use.

    But as for security, it’s never been great.

    Most Apple stuff is based more on style than substance, people buy it because it looks good…they don’t care about the actual advantages.

  3. Goodpeople November 23, 2007 at 7:47 pm #

    I was quite disappointed to find out that Apple had screwed this up so badly. I mean, we all expect the usual crap from microsoft. But it would have been nice if the competition had brought out a decent product. (which it of course still is).

  4. cpj November 25, 2007 at 1:00 am #

    i am biased against apple products. they don’t last very long, and the service fees are ludicrous.

    anyways, i wonder how they are selling this new firewall as being easy to use, if they even bother. for most, ease of use for a firewall is an oxymoron.

    i agree with you dirty: status symbols all the way.

  5. Nobody_Holme November 25, 2007 at 8:24 am #

    So um…. if the rest of us who use windows to play games and nothing else laugh at those silly mac users, can we make them go cry in a corner?

    I’m not mean… Honest…

  6. dirty November 26, 2007 at 5:31 pm #

    All in all, I like my Mac…but call a spade when you see it. Its not hack proof but you can pretend it is if that sort of thing makes you feel good inside. At least you can look cool while you’re getting owned, jk hahah

  7. Nobody_Holme November 27, 2007 at 12:45 pm #

    But Macs look stupid….

    Meh, I think anything apple makes/most things your average person thinks is cool looks stupid these days, so hey.

  8. Sir Henry December 14, 2007 at 6:09 pm #

    Although I am a Mac user, I am able to pull myself away from the zealous “fanboi” masses and, as dirty stated, “call a spade a spade”. It is ignorant to think that any system is 100%. Unfortunately, to state such to the zealous masses is a date with a fire fight. So eager are they to blindly back up Apple while not looking at the fact that, with more market share and, with the release of a (in my opinion) Vista-like version of OS X, Apple will soon join the ranks as a company with its own security risks in the OS.