In the ever-evolving realm of cyber threats and vulnerabilities, a new issue has emerged with the identifier CVE-2023-42877. It is a potential weak spot that could allow a malicious app to modify protected parts of the file system. In this article, we'll be diving deep into the details of this vulnerability, examining a code snippet that demonstrates the issue, and discussing the ways it was addressed and fixed by the developers. We will also review the original references and link you to the patches for macOS Sonoma 14.1, macOS Monterey 12.7.1, and macOS Ventura 13.6.1.

The Vulnerability

CVE-2023-42877 highlights a problem wherein a potentially harmful application might be able to exploit certain system vulnerabilities to modify protected components of the file system. As these parts are typically safeguarded against unauthorized changes, any deliberate modification poses a significant security risk. It's worth noting that the issue revolves around insufficient checks within the file system, making it easy for a determined attacker to intrude.

An example of a vulnerable code snippet that could be exploited by a malicious app is shown below

void vulnerable_function() {
  ... // Initialization code

  // Perform check to see if the caller has the required
  // privileges to modify the protected file
  bool allowed = check_app_permission();
  if (!allowed) {
    return; // The app is not allowed to continue with the operation

  file_handle_t* protected_file = open_protected_file();

  if (protected_file) {
    modify_protected_file(protected_file); // The risky operation

  ... // Cleanup code

Notice how the vulnerable_function() initially performs a check (check_app_permission()) to see if the calling app has the necessary privileges to modify the protected file. In this case, if the app succeeds in bypassing the check, it could potentially continue with the subsequent steps, leading to the unauthorized modification of a file that should have been protected.

Original References

The vulnerability was initially discovered and reported by security researchers. For a more in-depth analysis and the full details of the issue, you can refer to the following sources:

- CVE-2023-42877 - NIST National Vulnerability Database
- Apple Security Updates - 2023-03-29
- Apple Security Advisory - macOS

The Fix and Patches

Fortunately, the vulnerability has been addressed by the developers. They implemented improved checks within the file system to identify and stop any attempts by unauthorized applications to modify protected files. Users can apply patches to their macOS devices by updating to the following versions:

- macOS Sonoma 14.1: Download Update
- macOS Monterey 12.7.1: Download Update
- macOS Ventura 13.6.1: Download Update


CVE-2023-42877 is a troubling vulnerability that demonstrates the importance of staying vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity. Thankfully, patches for this issue have been released and by updating your macOS devices to the appropriate version, you can ensure that your system remains secure. Never forget that investing in reliable protection is the best defense against any potential cyber threats that may come your way.


Published on: 02/21/2024 07:15:50 UTC
Last modified on: 02/22/2024 19:07:27 UTC