Six university researchers discovered high-impact “zero-day” security weaknesses in iOS and Mac, which can be abused by getting a malicious app approved by the Apple app store – something they managed to do without any issues. Through this app they were able to access sensitive data from other apps – with dire consequences. The researchers state that “our sandboxed app successfully retrieved from the system’s keychain the passwords and secret tokens of iCloud, email and all kinds of social networks stored there by the system app Internet Accounts, and bank and Gmail passwords from Google Chrome […]”
It does sound unbelievable, doesn’t it? Just take a look at the below video to see a malicious sandboxes app on OS X steal all private notes in the Evernote app:
Or how about a look at how it is able to steal any websites’ passwords:
According to their research 88.6% of the apps they tested were found to be completely exposed to the XARA attacks. This includes popular apps like Evernote, WeChat, and 1Password: “In our study, we downloaded 1,612 free apps from the MAC App Store. These apps cover all 21 categories of the store, including social networking, finance, business, and others. In each category, we picked up all the free apps when less than 100 of them are there, and top 100 otherwise. Also from the iOS App Store, we collected 200 most popular apps, 40 each from “All Categories”, “Finance”, “Business”, “Social Networking” and “Productivity”, after removing duplications.”
The researcher informed Apple about the issues in October 2014, a fix seems to be still outstanding.
Take a look at the research paper to read all about the issue.