20+ Ways to Bypass Your macOS Privacy Mechanisms

Authors: Wojciech Reguła and Csaba Fitzl

“TotallyNotAVirus.app” would like to access the camera and spy on you. To protect your privacy, Apple introduced Transparency, Consent, and Control (TCC) framework that restricts access to sensitive personal resources: documents, camera, microphone, emails, and more. Granting such access requires authorization, and the mechanism’s main design concern was clear user consent.

In this presentation, we showed multiple techniques that allowed us to bypass this prompt, and as a malicious application, get access to protected resources without any additional privileges or user’s consent. Together, we submitted over 40 vulnerabilities just to Apple through the past year, which allowed us to bypass some parts or the entire TCC. We also found numerous vulnerabilities in third-party apps (including Firefox, Signal, and others), which allowed us to avoid the OS restrictions by leveraging the targeted apps’ privileges.

Wojciech Reguła
Wojciech Reguła Principal IT Security Consultant
Head of Mobile Security