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Kaspersky warns of "Darwin Nuke" which affects Apple mobile devices

A vulnerability in the kernel of Darwin, an open source component of both the OS X and iOS operating systems has been detected.

According to Kaspersky Lab security researchers, the vulnerability leaves OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 devices exposed to remotely-activated denial of service (DoS) attacks which can damage the user’s device and impact any corporate network to which it is connected.

Devices affected include those with 64-bit processors and iOS 8: iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3.

The “Darwin Nuke” vulnerability is exploited while processing an IP packet of specific size and with invalid IP options. Remote attackers can initiate a DoS attack on a device with OS X 10.10 or iOS 8, sending an incorrect network packet to the target. After processing the invalid network packet, the system will crash.

Anton Ivanov, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab, said: “At first sight, it is very hard to exploit this bug, as the conditions attackers need to meet are not trivial ones, but persistent cyber criminals can do so, breaking down devices or even affecting the activity of corporate networks.

“Routers and firewalls would usually drop incorrect packets with invalid option sizes, but we discovered several combinations of incorrect IP options that are able to pass through the Internet routers. We’d like to warn all OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 users to update devices to OS X 10.10.3 and iOS 8.3 releases.”

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