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Kaspersky Lab finds “Darwin Nuke” Vulnerability in OS X and iOS

Kaspersky Lab security researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the kernel of Darwin – an open-source component of both the OS X and iOS operating systems. This “Darwin Nuke” vulnerability leaves OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 devices exposed to remotely-activated denial of service (DoS) attacks that can damage the user’s device and impact any corporate network to which it is connected. The experts call on consumers to update devices with the OS X 10.10.3 and iOS 8.3 software releases, which no longer include this vulnerability.

Analysis of the vulnerability by Kaspersky Lab revealed that the devices affected by the threat include those with 64-bit processors and iOS 8: iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3.

The “Darwin Nuke” vulnerability is exploited while processing an IP packet of specific size and with invalid IP options. Remote attackers can initiate a DoS (denial of service) attack on a device with OS X 10.10 or iOS 8, sending an incorrect network packet to the target. After processing the invalid network packet, the system will crash.

“At first sight, it is very hard to exploit this bug, as the conditions attackers need to meet are not trivial ones. But persistent cybercriminals can do so, breaking down devices or even affecting the activity of corporate networks. Routers and firewalls would usually drop incorrect packets with invalid option sizes, but we discovered several combinations of incorrect IP options that are able to pass through the Internet routers. We’d like to warn all OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 users to update devices to OS X 10.10.3 and iOS 8.3 releases,” says Anton Ivanov, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab’s products protect OS X against the “Darwin Nuke” vulnerability with the Network Attack Blocker feature. Starting with Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac 15.0, this threat is detected as DoS.OSX.Yosemite.ICMP.Error.exploit.

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