carl mehner's blog

OS X Keychain Key Export Authentication Bypass

This vulnerability allows anyone, with log-on access to an OS X machine, the ability to export private keys from the system keystore of OS X. Normally, there are two ways to stop this, only system administrators would have access to use or export system keys and they can be made non-exportable for any user. However, for this vulnerability, those two mitigations matter not. Normally, one would need to authenticate as an administrator, but as you can see below, Apple’s authentication procedure does not error out properly. This means that if an administrator has deployed a certificate solely, meant for system use, anyone else now can use it for their own purposes.

Note: I believe this is the same as CVE-2015-7058, however, I never recived official confirmation of that from Apple. It does seem the same, and appears to be fixed at this time.

Disclosure Timeline:

Technical Details & Description

Affected Product Details:
Security Risk:

A non-privileged user is able to export keys and certificate they should not have access to export. Additionally, they are able to deactivate the non-exportable flag on the key if it was originally imported with '-x'.

How to recreate results / PoC:



An asymmetric key exists in the system keystore and is marked as non-exportable. A user (with administrator or non-administrator system access) exists such that said user desires the p and q (aka. private key).


an asymmetric key exists in the system keystore that is exportable by administrators only. A non-administrator exists that wants the key.

The "Attack"

A user logs into the machine. Opens Keychain Access, select the system keystore. Selects the key to export, perform a 'secondary click' (aka 'right-click') on the key, selects the export menu item.

A prompt appears asking for a location to save the key:
Choose a place to save the key
A prompt appears to request administrator level credentials:
Gently press the escape key once.
The key is now exportable (if it wasn't before).
A prompt appears to set the exported key’s passphrase.
Choose to enter a password, or leave it blank. Click OK.
The user now has a pkcs#12 file complete with the private key.
Speculation below!

From what I can tell, the code would be something similar to this:

public void exportCertFromKeychain(certID cert) { bool exportable = true; // get place to store exported cert // this should only happen after authorization! filename f = getExportLocation(); // check if access is locked down to only allow // administrators, or if it is non-exportable if(isProtected(cert)) { // get Authorization int authResult = authenticateAdmin(); /* Authentication returns several different codes 0 is errAuthorizationSuccess -60005 is errAuthorizationDenied -60006 is errAuthorizationCanceled */ if(authResult == 0) // here is the non-exportable bug // this should be the first thing checked.. if(markedNonExportable(certID)) exportable = false; else if(authResult == -60005) // here is the admin bug exportable = false; // they should check if 'authResult' was 0, // and if not, set the value to false // when you cancel, the result is -60006 // and 'exportable' remains true.


// get export password string pass = getPassword(); if(exportable) { exportCert(f, cert); } else { showError(); } }