Researcher Gives Apple Details of macOS Keychain Security Flaw Despite No Mac Bug Bounty Program

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A German teenager who discovered a macOS Keychain security flaw last month has now shared the details with Apple, after having initially refused to hand them over because of the company's lack of a bug bounty program for the Mac.


Eighteen-year-old Linus Henze dubbed the zero-day macOS vulnerability he found "KeySteal," which, as demoed in the video above, can be used to disclose all sensitive data stored in the Keychain app.

Henze said he decided to reveal the details to Apple because the bug "is very critical and because the security of macOS users is important to me."

I've decided to submit my keychain exploit to @Apple, even though they did not react, as it is very critical and because the security of macOS users is important to me. I've sent them the full details including a patch. For free of course. - Linus Henze (@LinusHenze) February 28, 2019

After Henze released the video in early February, Apple's security team reached out to him, but the researcher said he wouldn't disclose the details without a cash reward, arguing that discovering the vulnerabilities takes time.

"Even if it looks like I'm doing this just for money, this is not my motivation at all in this case," said Henze. "My motivation is to get Apple to create a bug bounty program. I think that this is the best for both Apple and Researchers."

Apple has a reward program for iOS that provides money to those who discover bugs, but there is no similar payment system for macOS bugs.

Article Link: Researcher Gives Apple Details of macOS Keychain Security Flaw Despite No Mac Bug Bounty Program
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,252
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Maybe there is too many bugs in MacOS that Tim would lose to much money on the deal...
I know you’re being facetious, but that’s just it, Apple has plenty of money and likely resources where they could implement a program that would help eradicate issues, but for whatever reason, they don’t want extend a hand. There’s no logical reason why they won’t implement a bounty hunting program.
 
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chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,678
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Isla Nublar
It’s great that Apple values our privacy, but the lack of security makes all that effort pretty much useless. I think we’ve seen more critical security bugs from Apple than from any other major company.
I'm sorry but this is just BS. I used to support Windows environments for a living, what you see on Mac is literally nothing compared to what you see on Windows.
 

jasonsewell

macrumors newbie
Apr 27, 2010
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The guy painted himself into a corner. Optics and public sentiment aside, once you disclose that you have damaging information about a software vulnerability, and then you demand money or other concessions before disclosing the information to the software developer, you are coming very close to the legal definition of extortion.

I’m guessing an attorney pointed this out the the guy.
 

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
This makes Apple look terrible.

He even reached out to them and said he would share the findings without remuneration if they would just explain why they don't have a Mac bug bounty program, and they stonewalled him—spiting their customers.

I used to report bugs to Apple through the free developer program (which I had to sign up for in spite of not being a developer) but I gave up because they never responded and never fixed anything.

I think Apple's tendency is to make a product and go onto the next big thing and not leave enough people working on their current products. Tim Cook says they have huge things in the pipeline. But they have not increased their employee size relative to how huge of a company they are now. If it's true they have huge things in the pipeline, they probably divert engineers who would otherwise work on the Mac to whatever the big new thing is. Back when the iPhone was introduced, Apple even admitted to that. They delayed the release of Leopard specifically because they put Mac engineers on the iPhone project. Apple even says that they work like a startup. But startups make one product. Apple has many platforms and they get very neglected.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,334
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In between a rock and a hard place
The guy painted himself into a corner. Optics and public sentiment aside, once you disclose that you have damaging information about a software vulnerability, and then you demand money or other concessions before disclosing the information to the software developer, you are coming very close to the legal definition of extortion.

I’m guessing an attorney pointed this out the the guy.
No he's not. He would be close to extorting if he said he found a vulnerability and he threatened to release it into the wild if he didn't get paid by Apple. That's not what he did. He threatened to withhold disclosure. Withholding disclosure is not illegal at all.
 

DoctorTech

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2014
654
1,395
Indianapolis, IN
First, thank you Linus for sharing the info with Apple.

I can only think of 2 reasons whey Apple wouldn't have a bounty program for Mac OS security flaws (neither makes Apple look good).
1) Apple doesn't care enough about Mac OS to pay a bounty for finding security flaws or
2) Apple is afraid of what the bounty program would cost.

I really hope there is a different, actual reason they don't have a bounty program but I can't think of what it would be.
 
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