The misconception that macOS is more secure than the Windows operating system is far from the truth. With just one small command, a hacker can completely take over a MacBook and control it remotely.
A powered-off MacBook can be compromised in less than three minutes. With just a few commands, it's possible for a hacker to extract a target's password hash and crack it without their knowledge.
Apple's macOS operating system is just as vulnerable to attacks as any Windows 10 computer or Android smartphone. Hacker's can embed backdoors, evade antivirus with simple commands, and utilize USB flash drives to completely compromise a MacBook. In this always-updated guide, we'll outline dozens of macOS-specific attacks penetration testers should know about.
Encrypting payloads and encoding stagers are more effective against macOS than one might think. It's very easy to evade VirusTotal and macOS antivirus software using a few simple tricks.
Locating and abusing files containing unsafe permissions is an easy and surefire way to elevate shell privileges on a backdoored macOS device. This time around, we'll be more aggressive and attempt to phish a user's login password by prompting a convincing popup message merely asking the target for their password.
Hacking macOS: How to Perform Situational Awareness Attacks, Part 2 (Finding Files, History & USB Devices)
It's important to know who you're dealing with after hacking your target's MacBook. Getting remote access is simple, but covertly gathering information about the user and their system can be a challenge.
With just one line of Ruby code embedded into a fake PDF, a hacker can remotely control any Mac computer from anywhere in the world. Creating the command is the easy part, but getting the target to open the code is where a hacker will need to get creative.
With the rise of website encryption (TLS), sniffing passwords from network activity has become difficult. However, it's still possible to quietly exfiltrate a target's network traffic in real time to extract passwords and sensitive information. Pertaining to macOS, there are two methods for retrieving traffic from a backdoored Mac.
The conversation of which operating system is most secure, macOS vs. Windows, is an ongoing debate. Most will say macOS is more secure, but I'd like to weigh in by showing how to backdoor a MacBook in less than two minutes and maintain a persistent shell using tools already built into macOS.
With the macOS stager created and the attacker's system hosting the Empire listener, the malicious AppleScript can be designed and disguised to appear as a legitimate PDF using a few Unicode and icon manipulation tricks.
While hackers have taken advantage of numerous vulnerabilities in Adobe's products to deliver payloads to Windows users via PDF files, a malicious PDF file can also wreak havoc on a Mac that's using the default Preview app. So think twice before double-clicking a PDF open on your MacBook — it might just be a Trojan with a rootkit inside.
The newest version of macOS has arrived. While everyone's mind is being blown by Mojave's groundbreaking new Dark Mode, we'll be taking advantage of its insecure file permissions to establish a persistent backdoor with a self-destructing payload that leaves little evidence for forensics.
The macOS 10.14 security update tried to make parts of the operating system difficult for hackers to access. Let's take a closer look at how its new feature works and what we can do to spoof the origin of an application attempting to access protected data.
The first few minutes after gaining access to a MacBook are critical — but where do we begin? Using tools built into macOS, we can develop an in-depth understanding of running background processes, detect antivirus software, locate sensitive files, and fingerprint other devices on the network. All of this can be done without installing additional software or modifying any files.
Passwords and data stored in web browsers are extremely valuable to hackers. If not for financial gain, black hat hackers may still leak your passwords and personal information for amusement. Never undervalue what you're worth to a hacker.
Using Netcat to backdoor a macOS device has its short-comings. If the compromised Mac goes to sleep, the Netcat background process will occasionally fail to terminate correctly; This leaves Netcat running infinitely in the background and the attacker with no new way into the device. As an alternative, we'll use the lesser-known Tcl shell which can handle abrupt backdoor disconnections.
KeePassX, 1Password, and LastPass are effective against keyloggers, phishing, and database breaches, but passwords managers rely on the operating system's clipboard to securely move credentials from the password vault to the web browser. It's within these few seconds that an attacker can dump the clipboard contents and exfiltrate passwords.
Complex shell scripts can be implanted into photo metadata and later used to exploit a MacBook. In addition to obfuscating the true nature of an attack, this technique can be used to evade network firewalls as well as vigilant sysadmins.
Developed by Open Whisper Systems, Signal is a free, open-source encrypted communications app for both mobile and desktop devices that allows users to make voice calls, send instant messages, and even make video calls securely. However, a vulnerability was recently discovered for the desktop version that can be turned into a USB Rubber Ducky payload to steal signal messages with a single click.
Firewall solutions for macOS aren't impervious to attacks. By taking advantage of web browser dependencies already whitelisted by the firewall, an attacker can exfiltrate data or remotely control a MacBook, iMac, Mac mini, or another computer running macOS (previously known as Mac OS X).
It's not uncommon for hackers to attempt to move laterally between devices in proximity of a compromised device to maintain a prolonged presence in the network. Malware utilizing USB flash sticks to self-replicate and compromise air-gapped machines isn't a new concept.
An attacker can repurpose public MyBB forums to act as command-and-control servers. It only takes a few lines of code to configure a MacBook to fetch commands and send responses to any website the attacker desires.
Google, Amazon, and Facebook are always listening. But what's worse? Hackers are listening, too. Windows PCs are particularly vulnerable, but with a few simple commands, a remote attacker can even take over the microphone on someone's Mac computer, streaming audio and listening to private conversations in real time without the victim's knowledge, abusing an overlooked security consideration.
Gmail conversations, Facebook private messages, and personal photos can all be viewed by a hacker who has backdoor access to a target's Mac. By livestreaming the desktop or exfiltrating screenshots, this information can be used for blackmail and targeted social engineering attacks to further compromise the mark.
In most macOS hacks, a non-root terminal is used to create a backdoor into the device. A lot of damage can be done as a low-privileged user, but it has its limitations. Think twice before granting a file permission to execute — an attacker might be able to convert your harmless scripts into persistent root backdoors.
After backdooring a MacBook not protected by FileVault or using a fake PDF to gain remote access, an attacker may wish to upgrade their Netcat shell to something more fully featured. While a root shell allows attackers to remotely modify most files on the MacBook, Empire features some useful post-exploitation modules which make hacking Macs very easy.
Backdooring a powered-off MacBook is easy when a few minutes of physical access is allowed. That attack works well if the hacker also shares a Wi-Fi network with the victim, but this time, I'll show how to remotely establish a connection to the backdoored MacBook as it moves between different Wi-Fi networks.
Most users don't realize how much valuable data is in their network traffic. With a few simple tools, an attacker can quickly pick out cookies, passwords, and DNS queries from a macOS device as it covertly streams the victim's network traffic to the attacker's system. Here, we will cover two methods for analyzing packets flowing from a Mac.
It's possible to stream a MacBook's entire computer screen without using Apple's Screen Sharing application and without opening any ports on the target device. A hacker with low user privileges on the backdoored Mac may be able to view a victim's every move in real time no matter where they are.
Data can be injected into images quickly without the use of metadata tools. Attackers may use this knowledge to exfiltrate sensitive information from a MacBook by sending the pictures to ordinary file-sharing websites.
Don't think because your MacBook is using FileVault disk encryption your device is secure or immune to hackers. Here's how to find out if that FileVault password is strong enough to withstand an attack from a motivated attacker.
The USB Rubber Ducky and the Digispark board both suffer from the same issue when attacking macOS computers: a keyboard profiler pop-up which tries to identify any non-Apple USB keyboards. While it's an annoying setback, the solution is a simple modification that allows Mac computers to be targeted, which affects the ability to target Windows and Linux devices.
It only takes a few commands to manipulate a MacBook's secure HTTPS traffic and pluck login passwords out of the encrypted data. Let's take Facebook and Gmail hacking to the next level by intercepting Safari and Google Chrome web traffic in real time.
The Digispark is a low-cost USB development board that's programmable in Arduino and capable of posing as a keyboard, allowing it to deliver a number of payloads. For only a few dollars, we can use the Digispark to deliver a payload to a macOS computer that will track the Mac every 60 seconds, even bypassing security like a VPN.
Arduino is a language that's easy to learn and supported on many incredibly low-cost devices, two of which are the $2 Digispark and a $3 ESP8266-based board. We can program these devices in Arduino to hijack the Wi-Fi data connection of any unlocked macOS computer in seconds, and we can even have it send data from the target device to our low-cost evil access point.
MacOS isn't known as an ideal operating system for hacking without customization, but it includes native tools that allow easy control of the Wi-Fi radio for packet sniffing. Changing channels, scanning for access points, and even capturing packets all can be done from the command line. We'll use aliasing to set some simple commands for easy native packet capture on a macOS system.
We're almost there to completing the setup of your Mac for hacking! Now that we have Git and Homebrew under our belts, it's time to take on something fairly easy, but very important for our hacking needs.
It looks like there is a fatal flaw in the current macOS High Sierra 10.13.1, even straight from the login menu when you first start up the computer. This severe vulnerability lets hackers — or anyone with malicious intentions — do anything they want as root users as long as they have physical access to the computer.
Apple pushed out iOS 11.4 on May 29 to iPads and iPhones, which included the long-awaited Messages in iCloud feature. The company did not release macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 at the same time, limiting the usefulness of being able to sync messages in the cloud since 10.13.4 is not compatible with Messages in iCloud. But three days later, Apple finally released macOS 10.13.5.
In usual Apple fashion, there are new wallpapers to go along with their new operating systems, iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. The background that's included in iOS 10 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is a crashing aqua-colored wave with land just below its surface, and macOS Sierra's is a razor-sharp mountain ridge from the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California.