Thursday, July 4, 2024

Longstanding CocoaPods Vulnerabities

Brandon Vigliarolo:

CocoaPods, an open-source dependency manager used in over three million applications coded in Swift and Objective-C, left thousands of packages exposed and ready for takeover for nearly a decade – thereby creating opportunities for supply chain attacks on iOS and macOS apps, according to security researchers.


As noted above, the CocoaPods team has patched the issues – and appeared to do so months ago – though specifics weren’t widely known until EVA published its research today.

None of my apps use CocoaPods (or other package managers).

Reef Spektor and Eran Vaknin:

A 2014 migration process left thousands of orphaned packages (where the original owner is unknown), many of which are still widely used in other libraries. Using a public API and an email address that was available in the CocoaPods source code, an attacker could claim ownership over any of these packages, which would then allow the attacker to replace the original source code with their own malicious code.

An insecure email verification workflow could be exploited to run arbitrary code on the CocoaPods ‘Trunk’ server (manages the distribution and metadata of Podspecs), which would allow an attacker to manipulate or replace the packages being downloaded.

By spoofing an HTTP header and taking advantage of misconfigured email security tools, attackers could execute a zero-click attack that grants them access to a developer’s account verification token. This would allow attackers to change packages on the CocoaPods server and result in supply chain and zero day attacks.


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