The first flaw is a race condition in the Crash Reporter component (CVE-2023-23520) that could enable a malicious actor to read arbitrary files as root. The iPhone maker said it addressed the issue with additional validation.
The two other vulnerabilities, credited to Trellix researcher Austin Emmitt, reside in the Foundation framework (CVE-2023-23530 and CVE-2023-23531) and could be weaponized to achieve code execution.
“An app may be able to execute arbitrary code out of its sandbox or with certain elevated privileges,” Apple said, adding it patched the issues with “improved memory handling.”
The medium to high-severity vulnerabilities have been patched in iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, and macOS Ventura 13.2 that were shipped on January 23, 2023.
Trellix, in its own report on Tuesday, classified the two flaws as a “new class of bugs that allow bypassing code signing to execute arbitrary code in the context of several platform applications, leading to escalation of privileges and sandbox escape on both macOS and iOS.”
The bugs also bypass mitigations Apple put in place to address zero-click exploits like FORCEDENTRY that was leveraged by Israeli mercenary spyware vendor NSO Group to deploy Pegasus on targets’ devices.
As a result, a threat actor could exploit these vulnerabilities to break out of the sandbox and execute malicious code with elevated permissions, potentially granting access to calendar, address book, messages, location data, call history, camera, microphone, and photos.
Even more troublingly, the security defects could be abused to install arbitrary applications or even wipe the device. That said, exploitation of the flaws requires an attacker to have already obtained an initial foothold into it.
“The vulnerabilities above represent a significant breach of the security model of macOS and iOS which relies on individual applications having fine-grained access to the subset of resources they need and querying higher privileged services to get anything else,” Emmitt said.