Apple Releases Patches For a Watch

What happens when you build a watch that is essentially an absurdly powerful computer that also tells time? You have to patch that watch.

And that’s what Apple has done for the first time, releasing a long list of fixes for security problems with the Apple Watch OS. At least one of the vulnerabilities can be used to execute arbitrary code and several others allow malicious applications to escalate privileges, cause a denial-of-service or discover the kernel memory layout.

The most serious of the vulnerabilities is a bug in the font parser in Watch OS.

“Processing a maliciously crafted font file may lead to arbitrary code execution. A memory corruption issue existed in the processing of font files. This issue was addressed through improved bounds checking,” the Apple advisory says.

Among the other bugs fixed in Watch OS 1.01 are eight separate kernel vulnerabilities. A couple of those flaws can allow an attacker to cause a DoS, while others can give an attacker elevated privileges. There also is a potential code-execution vulnerability in the kernel.

“A malicious application may be able to execute arbitrary code with system privileges. A memory corruption issue existed in the kernel. This issue was addressed through improved memory handling,” the advisory says.

Apple also included a patch to defend against the FREAK attack in the new release of Watch OS.

“Secure Transport accepted short ephemeral RSA keys, usually used only in export-strength RSA cipher suites, on connections using full-strength RSA cipher suites. This issue, also known as FREAK, only affected connections to servers which support export-strength RSA cipher suites, and was addressed by removing support for ephemeral RSA keys,” the advisory says.

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