MacOS SUHelper Root Privilege Escalation Vulnerability: A Deep Dive Into CVE-2022-22639

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MacOS SUHelper Root Privilege Escalation Vulnerability A Deep Dive Into CVE-2022-22639

We discovered a now-patched vulnerability in macOS SUHelper, designated as CVE-2022-22639. If exploited, the vulnerability could allow malicious actors to gain root privilege escalation.

By: Mickey Jin April 04, 2022 Read time:  ( words)

We discovered a vulnerability in suhelperd, a helper daemon process for Software Update in macOS. A class inside suhelperd, SUHelper, provides an essential system service through the inter-process communication (IPC) mechanism. The process runs as root and is signed with special entitlements, such as com.apple.rootless.install, which grants the process permission to bypass System Integrity Protection (SIP) restrictions. This combination of functionalities presents an attractive opportunity for malicious actors to exploit the vulnerability.

Designated as CVE-2022-22639, the vulnerability could allow root privilege escalation if successfully exploited. After discovering the flaw, we reported it to Apple, hence the release of a patch through the macOS Monterey 12.3 security update

This report dives into the daemon process, enumerates all the services it provides, and discusses the vulnerabilities found therein.

The IPC service

The core logic of the

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