Apple Issues Critical OS X Security Updates

December 24, 2014 | By K. Joseph Breheny

Apple has released critical security updates for OS X Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and Yosemite to address multiple vulnerabilities in the Network Time Protocol daemon. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities may allow a remote attacker to take control of a vulnerable system.

The buffer overflow vulnerabilities in ntpd may allow a remote unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary malicious code with the privilege level of the ntpd process. The weak default key and non-cryptographic random number generator in ntp-keygen may allow an attacker to gain information regarding the integrity checking and authentication encryption schemes. More specifically, the weak default key allows access to private mode and control mode queries that require authentication, if not restricted by the configuration.

Several issues existed in ntpd that would have allowed an attacker to trigger buffer overflows. These issues were addressed through improved error checking.

The buffer overflow vulnerabilities in ntpd may allow a remote unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary malicious code with the privilege level of the ntpd process. The weak default key and non-cryptographic random number generator in ntp-keygen may allow an attacker to gain information regarding the integrity checking and authentication encryption schemes. More specifically, the weak default key allows access to private mode and control mode queries that require authentication, if not restricted by the configuration.

To verify the ntpd version, type the following command in Terminal: what /usr/sbin/ntpd. This update includes the following versions:

  • Mountain Lion: ntp-77.1.1
  • Mavericks: ntp-88.1.1
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