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How the Mackeeper failed to secure Mac

Mackeeper, the program designed to keep Mac computers secure suffers from a critical remote code execution vulnerability.

Mackeeper, the program designed to keep Mac computers secure suffers from a critical remote code execution vulnerability.

This flaw lies in the lack of input validation during the handling of custom URLs by the program. It allows hackers to execute arbitrary commands with root privilege with little to no user interaction. It can happen when users visited specially crafted webpages in the Safari browser.

If the user had already provided their password to MacKeeper during normal course of operation of the program, the user will not be alerted for their password prior to the execution of the arbitrary command.

If the user did not previously authenticate, they will be prompted to enter their authentication details, however, the text that appears for the authentication dialogue can be manipulated to appear as anything, so the user might not realize the true consequences of the action.

The vulnerability, quite possibly a zero-day one was discovered by security researcher Braden Thomas who released a demonstration link as proof-of-concept (POC) through which the Mackeeper program was automatically un-installed upon simply clicking the external link. 

Mackeeper is a controversial program amongst the Mac users owing to its pop-up and advertisements, but apparently has 20 million downloads worldwide.

The vulnerability existed even in  the latest version 3.4. The company has advised users to run Mackeeper update tracker and install 3.4.1 or later. For users who have not updated, they can use a browser other than Safari or remove the custom URL scheme handler from Mackeeper's info.plist file.
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Apple Security

Application Vulnerability