This popular MacBook feature can be used to spy on you - <b>Technical Lobby</b>

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

This popular MacBook feature can be used to spy on you

Researchers have discovered a security flaw in one of the popular features of Apple’s macOS. The security loophole is related to the ‘Quick Look’ feature in the OS. However, though the vulnerability is ringing alarm bells all around now, it is actually a decade-old problem that Apple is said to be have reportedly ignored. The said security-hole in ‘Quick Look’ is claimed to leak passwords and other sensitive information. The worst part is that this vulnerability can be exploited on files in encrypted macOS systems as well.
This popular MacBook feature can be used to spy on you
What is the vulnerability in the ‘Quick Look’ feature?
Security researcher Wojciech Regula explained that the functioning of ‘Quick Look’ feature in his blog post. As is known, the ‘Quick Look’ feature allows users to preview files, webpages, photos folders, etc without actually opening them. Now, explaining how this preview is generated, Regula explained that the feature takes screenshots and generates thumbnails to help users get the preview. The problem is the location where these thumbnails are stored.

According to Regula, these thumbnails are cached and stored on the MacBook’s non-encrypted hard drive and the location of the files are unprotected and it can be easily accessed. The researcher said even if it is stored in an encrypted container, some parts of the files can be accessed.
Digital Security chief research officer Patrick Wardle also shared Regula’s concerned. 

“The issue has long been known for at least eight years, however, the fact that behavior is still present in the latest version of macOS, and (though potentially having serious privacy implications), is not widely known by Mac users, warrants additional discussion,” Wardle told The Hacker News. The same vulnerability even applies to access content through USB drives on macOS. The ‘Quick Look’ feature will generate thumbnails of the files in the USB drive and save them.

The researchers mentioned that this vulnerability can be easily fixed by Apple by either not allowing ‘Quick Look’ to generate screenshots altogether or by deleting the thumbnails when the file location drive is unmounted.
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