Apple has recently released a number of security advisories to address a zero-day vulnerability in Safari, iOS, iPadOS, and macOS Ventura. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability (being tracked as CVE-2023-37450) to achieve remote code execution. It has been reported that this vulnerability is being actively exploited, which means that attackers are currently using this security flaw to gain unauthorised access to systems, potentially leading to data theft, system damage, or other malicious activities. It is therefore imperative that you check and apply these patches as soon as possible.
Apple Rapid Security Response
Apple has rolled out a new protocol, termed Rapid Security Responses, to expedite the release of critical security enhancements in between regular software updates for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. This approach allows for a more immediate response to certain security issues such as this one. Upon the application of a Rapid Security Response, a letter is appended to the software version number, indicating that the update has been implemented.
Who and What is Affected?
The vulnerability affects all devices running: iOS, iPadOS, and macOS Ventura that have not been updated to the latest security patches. This includes iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. The exploit could be triggered by a vulnerable browser processing specially crafted (malicious) web content, leading to remote code execution.
How Can Attackers Exploit This Vulnerability?
Attackers can exploit this vulnerability by creating a webpage or web content that includes malicious code designed to exploit the vulnerability in Apple WebKit. They then need to trick the victim into opening this malicious webpage. This could be done through a phishing email, a message, or by compromising a website that the victim trusts and visits often. Once the victim opens the malicious webpage on a vulnerable browser, the malicious code is executed.
What Could Happen If This Vulnerability Is Exploited?
With the ability to execute arbitrary code, an attacker could potentially gain control over the victim’s device. This could allow them to install malware, steal sensitive data, create backdoors for future access, and more. In essence, the attacker could gain the same access to the device as the user, leading to a significant breach of privacy and security.
How to Patch This Vulnerability?
Apple has addressed this issue with improved checks in their Rapid Security Response updates. The patches were initially released for macOS Ventura 13.4.1 (a), iOS 16.5.1 (a), iPadOS 16.5.1 (a), and Safari 16.5.2. However, due to a bug in Safari, some of the updates were pulled. Apple has since released new fixes to address this issue.
To patch this vulnerability, users should update their devices to the latest software versions:
iOS 16.5.1 (a) and iPadOS 16.5.1 (a), released on July 10, 2023.
iOS 16.5.1 (c) and iPadOS 16.5.1 (c), released on July 12, 2023.
macOS Ventura 13.4.1 (a), released on July 10, 2023.
To check for updates, go to the settings of your device, select ‘General’, and then ‘Software Update’. If an update is available, tap ‘Download and Install’.