Hacker project puts spotlight back on Mac security

A hacker has released code that exploits a flaw in older AirPort-enabled Macs.

The security of Apple Computer's wireless drivers is under scrutiny again, thanks to a new hacker project.

On Wednesday, HD Moore posted code that exploits a flaw in the Proxim Wireless Orinoco wireless cards used by PowerBook and iMac computers built between 1999 and 2003, according to Moore.

Apple said the issue affected a small percentage of previous generation AirPort enabled Macs and did not affect currently shipping or AirPort Extreme enabled Macs, according to a statement.

The code was posted on a new blog called the Month of Kernel Bugs. It is modelled on Moore's own Month of Browser Bugs project, which disclosed one new browser vulnerability per day during the month of July.

The kernel bug project was launched with a reference to a controversy over Apple's products, kicked off at the Black Hat US conference three months ago.

"With all the hype and buzz about the now infamous Apple wireless device driver bugs ... hopefully this will bring some light [better said, proof] about the existence of such flaws in the Airport device drivers," wrote the blog's author, a hacker going by the name of LMH.

In August, security researchers, David Maynor and Jon Ellch, claimed to have discovered a flaw that affected Apple's wireless device drivers. They played a video demonstrating how this flaw could be used to run unauthorised code on a Macbook at Black Hat, but their claims have been criticised because their demonstration used a third-party wireless card rather than the one that ships with the Macbook, and because the two hackers have not published the code used in their attack.

Apple later said that Maynor's employer, SecureWorks, had not shared or demonstrated any code in relation to the Black Hat-demonstrated exploit that was relevant to the hardware and software that we ship.

A month later, Apple patched a number of flaws in its wireless products and soon after announced that it was working with SecureWorks on security issues.

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Robert McMillan

IDG News Service

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