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"Apple macOS 10.13.1 (High Sierra) - Insecure Cron System Local Privilege Escalation"

Author

"Mark Wadham"

Platform

macos

Release date

2017-12-06

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Recently I was working on an security issue in some other software that has yet to be disclosed which created a rather interesting condition. As a non-root user I was able to write to any file on the system that was not SIP-protected but the resulting file would not be root-owned, even if it previously was.

This presented an interesting challenge for privilege escalation - how would you exploit this to obtain root access? The obvious first attempt was the sudoers file but sudo is smart enough not to process it if the file isn't root-owned so that didn't work.

I then discovered (after a tip from a friend - thanks pndc!) that the cron system in macOS does not care who the crontab files are owned by. Getting root was a simple case of creating a crontab file at:

```
/var/at/tabs/root
```

with a 60-second cron line, eg:

```
* * * * * chown root:wheel /tmp/payload && chmod 4755 /tmp/payload
```

and then waiting for it to execute. It's not clear if this is a macOS-specific issue or a hangover from the BSD-inherited cron system, I suspect the latter.

The issue has been reported to Apple so hopefully they will fix it.
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2019-05-27 "Typora 0.9.9.24.6 - Directory Traversal" remote macos "Dhiraj Mishra"
2019-05-23 "Apple Mac OS X - Feedback Assistant Race Condition (Metasploit)" local macos Metasploit
2019-04-18 "Evernote 7.9 - Code Execution via Path Traversal" local macos "Dhiraj Mishra"
2019-03-01 "macOS XNU - Copy-on-Write Behavior Bypass via Mount of User-Owned Filesystem Image" dos macos "Google Security Research"
2019-02-13 "Apple macOS 10.13.5 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos Synacktiv
2019-02-20 "FaceTime - Texture Processing Memory Corruption" dos macos "Google Security Research"
2019-01-31 "macOS XNU - Copy-on-Write Behaviour Bypass via Partial-Page Truncation of File" dos macos "Google Security Research"
2019-01-24 "Microsoft Remote Desktop 10.2.4(134) - Denial of Service (PoC)" dos macos "Saeed Hasanzadeh"
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2018-11-29 "Mac OS X - libxpc MITM Privilege Escalation (Metasploit)" local macos Metasploit
2018-11-20 "Apple macOS 10.13 - 'workq_kernreturn' Denial of Service (PoC)" dos macos "Fabiano Anemone"
2018-11-14 "SwitchVPN for macOS 2.1012.03 - Privilege Escalation" local macos "Bernd Leitner"
2018-11-13 "CuteFTP Mac 3.1 - Denial of Service (PoC)" dos macos "Yair Rodríguez Aparicio"
2018-11-06 "FaceTime - 'VCPDecompressionDecodeFrame' Memory Corruption" dos macos "Google Security Research"
2018-11-06 "FaceTime - 'readSPSandGetDecoderParams' Stack Corruption" dos macos "Google Security Research"
2018-11-05 "LiquidVPN 1.36 / 1.37 - Privilege Escalation" local macos "Bernd Leitner"
2018-05-30 "Yosoro 1.0.4 - Remote Code Execution" webapps macos "Carlo Pelliccioni"
2017-02-24 "Apple WebKit 10.0.2 - 'FrameLoader::clear' Universal Cross-Site Scripting" webapps macos "Google Security Research"
2017-06-06 "Apple Safari 10.1 - Spread Operator Integer Overflow Remote Code Execution" remote macos saelo
2017-05-04 "Apple Safari 10.0.3 - 'JSC::CachedCall' Use-After-Free" remote macos "saelo & niklasb"
2017-02-23 "Apple macOS HelpViewer 10.12.1 - XSS Leads to Arbitrary File Execution / Arbitrary File Read" remote macos "Google Security Research"
2018-07-30 "Charles Proxy 4.2 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2018-03-20 "Google Software Updater macOS - Unsafe use of Distributed Objects Privilege Escalation" local macos "Google Security Research"
2017-01-16 "Apple macOS Sierra 10.12.1 - 'physmem' Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Brandon Azad"
2017-12-07 "Apple macOS High Sierra 10.13 - 'ctl_ctloutput-leak' Information Leak" local macos "Brandon Azad"
2017-11-28 "Apple macOS 10.13.1 (High Sierra) - 'Blank Root' Local Privilege Escalation" local macos Lemiorhan
2017-12-06 "Apple macOS 10.13.1 (High Sierra) - Insecure Cron System Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Proxifier for Mac 2.19 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
Release Date Title Type Platform Author
2018-07-30 "Charles Proxy 4.2 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Apple macOS 10.13.1 (High Sierra) - Insecure Cron System Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Proxifier for Mac 2.19 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Hashicorp vagrant-vmware-fusion 4.0.23 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Hashicorp vagrant-vmware-fusion 4.0.24 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Hashicorp vagrant-vmware-fusion 5.0.0 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Sera 1.2 - Local Privilege Escalation / Password Disclosure" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Hashicorp vagrant-vmware-fusion 5.0.1 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Hashicorp vagrant-vmware-fusion 5.0.3 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Arq 5.9.6 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Murus 1.4.11 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-12-06 "Arq 5.9.7 - Local Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-07-18 "Hashicorp vagrant-vmware-fusion < 4.0.20 - Local Root Privilege Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2017-04-11 "Proxifier for Mac 2.17/2.18 - Privesc Escalation" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2018-01-29 "Arq 5.10 - Local Privilege Escalation (2)" local macos "Mark Wadham"
2018-01-29 "Arq 5.10 - Local Privilege Escalation (1)" local macos "Mark Wadham"
import requests
response = requests.get('https://www.nmmapper.com/api/exploitdetails/43247/?format=json')
                        {"url": "https://www.nmmapper.com/api/exploitdetails/43247/?format=json", "download_file": "https://www.nmmapper.com/st/exploitdetails/43247/9831/apple-macos-10131-high-sierra-insecure-cron-system-local-privilege-escalation/download/", "exploit_id": "43247", "exploit_description": "\"Apple macOS 10.13.1 (High Sierra) - Insecure Cron System Local Privilege Escalation\"", "exploit_date": "2017-12-06", "exploit_author": "\"Mark Wadham\"", "exploit_type": "local", "exploit_platform": "macos", "exploit_port": null}
                    

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