More wireless insecurity
 
Another small but serious vulnerability has been discovered with Apple’s AirPort (WiFi) drivers. In this case the vulnerability seems to be only in the drivers for Apple’s original AirPort card, which shipped between 1999-2003. The card is mainly used in iBook G3 and early PowerBook G4 laptops.
 
The vulnerability, unlike certain previous, questionable ones, seems fairly genuine, in that sample code has been posted by its discoverer. Although very unlikely, it’s possible that a machine (including a fully up-to-date 10.4.8 one) with an original AirPort card could be taken over by a rogue wireless base station (access point) or perhaps any machine on the same wireless network. The discoverer has not figured out how to fully implement the takeover, but apparently has successfully crashed a vulnerable machine.
 
It will be interesting to see how long it takes Apple to react to this issue, in light of their previous response to a similar issue, and the fact that the issue only occurs on older cards. It’s also interesting to speculate as to why wireless has proven to be one of the least secure areas of the Mac OS, or at least one of the most investigated.
Thursday, November 2, 2006