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Hidden backdoor API to root privileges in Apple OS X


The Admin framework in Apple OS X contains a hidden backdoor API to
root privileges. It’s been there for several years (at least since
2011), I found it in October 2014 and it can be exploited to escalate
privileges to root from any user account in the system.

The intention was probably to serve the “System Preferences” app and
systemsetup (command-line tool), but any user process can use the same

Apple has now released OS X 10.10.3 where the issue is resolved. OS X
10.9.x and older remain vulnerable, since Apple decided not to patch
these versions. We recommend that all users upgrade to 10.10.3.