Recently, a critical vulnerability, identified as CVE-2023-42861, has been discovered in macOS Sonoma 14.. This security flaw allows an attacker to unlock the screen of another standard user's account on the same Mac, provided that they have knowledge of that standard user's credentials. In this post, we will discuss the details of this vulnerability, explain the underlying logic issue that made it possible, and provide guidance on addressing the problem, as well as links to original references.

Description of the Vulnerability

CVE-2023-42861 is a logic issue that stems from improper state management in the macOS Sonoma 14. operating system. The vulnerability enables an attacker with standard user privileges and knowledge of the target standard user's credentials to gain unauthorized access to their locked screen. This issue has been resolved in macOS Sonoma 14.1, and users are urged to update their systems to the latest version.

Here's a code snippet demonstrating the exploit

# Step 1: Attacker logs in to their standard user account on the target Mac
login(mac_address, attacker_credentials)

# Step 2: Target standard user locks their screen

# Step 3: Attacker unlocks the target standard user's locked screen using the target's credentials
unlock_screen(target_user_account, target_credentials) # Exploit

The following references provide detailed information about CVE-2023-42861

- CVE-2023-42861 summary: The official MITRE page for the vulnerability
- Apple security advisory regarding CVE-2023-42861: The official notice from Apple regarding the security issue

Update macOS to version 14.1; Apple has fixed the vulnerability in this release.

2. Encourage all user accounts to use strong, unique passwords and, if possible, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to further secure their accounts.

3. Implement a security-conscious culture in your organization, promoting awareness of phishing attacks, password management, and adherence to security best practices.


CVE-2023-42861 is a crucial security vulnerability that can lead to unauthorized access to users' locked screens on the same Mac. By exploiting this logic issue, attackers can compromise sensitive information and potentially cause further damage to the user's account or system. Updating to macOS Sonoma 14.1 is essential for mitigating the risk and ensuring the secure functioning of your Mac computer systems.


Published on: 10/25/2023 19:15:11 UTC
Last modified on: 11/02/2023 18:00:52 UTC