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Latest macOS Big Sur also has SUDO root privilege escalation flaw

Latest macOS Big Sur also has SUDO root privilege escalation flaw

A recently discovered heap-based buffer overflow vulnerability in Linux SUDO also impacts the latest version of Apple macOS Big Sur, with no patch available yet.

Last week, The Technology Guys Ltd had reported on CVE-2021-3156 aka Baron Samedit, a flaw in SUDO which lets local users gain root privileges.

Sudo is a Unix program that enables system admins to provide limited root privileges to normal users listed in the sudoers file, while at the same time keeping a log of their activity.

This helps limits the rights of standard users on an operating system by preventing them from executing high-risk commands and programs which may compromise the system’s security.



By exploiting Baron Samedit, standard non-root users on Linux, and now on macOS systems can execute applications with root privileges.

Sudo vulnerability impacts latest macOS version
This week, multiple security researchers have noticed that the sudo privilege escalation vulnerability CVE-2021-3156 also impacts the latest versions of Apple macOS Big Sur.

While the vulnerability was patched in multiple Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora, according to Qualys Research Team’s original blog disclosure, a fix is not yet available for macOS.

CVE-2021-3156 also impacts Apple macOS Big Sur (unpatched at present) Source: Twitter

CVE-2021-3156 also impacts Apple macOS Big Sur (unpatched at present)
Source: Twitter

PoC exploits available in the wild

To demonstrate the claim, the researcher Matthew Hickey (Hacker Fantastic), the co-founder of Hacker House coded a simplistic Proof-of-Concept (PoC) exploit of under ten lines that can enable standard macOS users to elevate their privileges to root.

CVE-2021-3156 PoC exploit for macOS

CVE-2021-3156 PoC exploit for macOS
Source: Pastebin

PoC exploits for the Baron Samedit vulnerability have also been published for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.

IBM AIX Unix distros also remain vulnerable to Baron Samedit.

Hickey told ZDNet the vulnerability remained exploitable even in the most recent macOS version after he had applied Apple’s Monday security updates.

No patch is yet available for macOS users, and it is worth noting, the vulnerability might be possible to trigger on multiple system architectures.

Researchers have confirmed running the exploits successfully across both aarch64 and x86_64 architectures.