Apple Safari Vulnerability Exploited in Wild Identified by Google    

  • By Steven
  • Jun 21, 2022

Researchers with Google have identified a vulnerability in Apple Safari that has been exploited in the wild. The 5-year-old vulnerability resurfaced yet went unnoticed for quite a lengthy period of time, even after repair and reintroduction. Here’s a quick look at what the Apple Safari vulnerability is all about.

What is Known About the Vulnerability?

The issue in question officially referred to as CVE-2022-22620, has a CVSS score of 8.8. The weakness centers on a WebKit component user-after-free weakness that has the potential to be exploited by unique online content for arbitrary code execution. Google Project Zero recently provided the details of the vulnerability. 

Apple has gone out of its way to note the vulnerability is not specific to Safari.  

What is the Vulnerability’s Timeline?

The History API bugs in question take different paths to spur the vulnerability. Both the 2013 and 2022 bugs use these paths. The resulting alterations to code were performed years after the return of the zero-day flaw. The variant was reimplemented several years later amid wide-scale refactoring. The weakness went on for another half-decade until it was repaired this year.  

The repairs in October and December of 2016 were significant. The October commit altered 40 files, made 900 additions, and resulted in more than 1,000 deletions. The December commit altered 95 files, resulting in 1,325 deletions and more than 1,300 additions. The bottom line is that it is not feasible for reviewers or developers to comprehend the implications of such security alterations, meaning more issues will inevitably arise in the future.

What is the Response to the Flaw?

Rewind to February 2022, and Apple provided patches for the bug after noting it was likely actively exploited. The patches for the bug pertain to macOS, iOS, Safari, and iPadOS. The variant was fully patched after the weakness was first reported in 2013. Google’s Project Zero team will require some time to audit the code as well as patches to prevent duplication and obtain a better understanding of the potential security effects after alterations are implemented.

Are Such Vulnerabilities Frequent?

Indeed, Safari vulnerabilities and operating system vulnerabilities are more frequent than most assume. Apple has recently remedied two zero-day vulnerabilities in iOS that were likely exploited to obtain access to Apple devices ranging from iPods to iPads, iPhones, and more. Those bugs spurred memory corruption issues.  

The truth is digital security specialists are unsure when zero-day bugs will come to an end if they ever do. As a result, the ongoing stream of zero-day bug exploits is picking up steam as the year progresses. 

A total of nine such vulnerabilities were identified in Google’s latest security bulletins.  Stay tuned as additional details about the vulnerabilities arise. In the meantime, you can do your part to improve your computer and network security by updating your digital safeguards.

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