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11 July 2006, 10:21

Mach abuse on Mac OS X

Mach abuse on Mac

Special Mach functions can be used to bypass security mechanisms in Apple's Mac OS X.

Australian security expert Neil "Nemo" Archibald has described a fundamental security problem in Apple's Mac OS X in his paper "Abusing Mach on Mac OS X", which appeared in the hacker magazine "Uninformed". The OS X kernel xnu bases its FreeBSD functions on a Mach microkernel. Instead of BSD-API, a programmer can directly call functions in the Mach kernel, thus going around such BSD security mechanisms as chroot(). Archibald also discusses the special features of the Mach API from the vantage point of a (Unix) programmer.

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