As many know, the app Mail MacOS offers users a choice of message encryption With it, emails exchanged within the app are encrypted by Apple itself and accessible only to you through your credentials on the Apple platform. The problem that, as a researcher recently discovered, this process has a loophole.
The day before yesterday, the digital security researcher Bob Gendler published a text on Medium sharing his findings and they have to do with a very unsuspecting element: the Siri suggestions. According to Gendler, a function of macOS creates a database file called snippets.db, which is used for the assistant to offer contact suggestions; It is the problem that the file also holds complete mail messages without any encryption.
The problem affects users who use Mail in macOS Catalina, Mojave, Sierra or High sierraas long as they do not have FileVault (General System Encryption System) enabled. The particularly serious flaw for users who exchange sensitive information through Mail, as the encryption feature would be a mechanism to protect this data and a cracker With simple access machine could get the emails exchanged without breaking the application encryption by taking advantage of the vulnerability.
The image below shows the problem: Mail claims to be unable to read the image because the encryption private key that would allow this process has been removed by Gendler. In the right window, however, the message is perfectly visible on account of the database file. The vulnerability persists even if you disable Siri on your Mac, it should be noted.
The researcher informed Apple about the vulnerability last July 29, and even after almost 100 days (and a complete update of macOS) Apple has not yet issued a solution to the problem. The company claims to be aware of it and correct it in a future version of the system, but without specifying dates; According to Apple, only snippets of emails are stored in the archive.
Still, if you have concerns that the failure could affect you, you can go two ways to curb it right now. The first option enable FileVault in the “Security and Privacy” section of System Preferences. The second disallow Siri from analyzing your emails, which can be done as follows:
- In System Preferences, access the option Siri Siri Suggestions and Privacy;
- Select the "Mail" option and uncheck the "Learn from this App" box.
We will continue to follow this subject and see the future updates from Ma. For now, take care!