Thursday, September 23, 2021

Questionable RCE with .webloc/.inetloc files

A report surfaced recently that at least some recent versions of macOS can be exploited to run arbitrary local applications using .inetloc files, which may allow a drive-by download to automatically kick off a vulnerable application and exploit it. Apple appeared to acknowledge the fault, but did not assign it a CVE; the reporter seems not to have found the putative fix satisfactory and public disclosure thus occurred two days ago.

The report claims the proof of concept works on all prior versions of macOS, but it doesn't seem to work (even with corrected path) on Tiger. Unfortunately due to packing I don't have a Leopard or Snow Leopard system running right now, so I can't test those, but the 10.4 Finder (which would launch these files) correctly complains they are malformed. As a safety measure in case there is something exploitable, the October SPR build of TenFourFox will treat both .webloc and .inetloc files that you might download as executable. (These files use similar pathways, so if one is exploitable after all, then the other probably is too.) I can't think of anyone who would depend on the prior behaviour, but in our unique userbase I'm sure someone does, so I'm publicizing this now ahead of the October 5 release. Meanwhile, if someone's able to make the exploit work on a Power Mac, I'd be interested to hear how you did it.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

TenFourFox FPR32 SPR4 available

TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 32 Security Parity Release 4 "32.4" is available for testing (downloads, hashes). There are, as before, no changes to the release notes nor anything notable about the security patches in this release. Assuming no major problems, FPR32.4 will go live Monday evening Pacific time as usual. The final official build FPR32.5 remains scheduled for October 5, so we'll do a little look at your options should you wish to continue building from source after that point later this month.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Unplanned Floodgap downtime

Floodgap is down due to an upstream circuit cut and TenFourFox users may get timeouts when checking versions. All Floodgap services including web, gopher and E-mail are affected. The telco is on it, but I have no ETA for repair. If the downtime will be prolonged, I may host some services temporarily on a VPS.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

TenFourFox FPR32 SPR3 available

TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 32 Security Parity Release 3 "32.3" is available for testing (downloads, hashes). There are, once again, no changes to the release notes and nothing notable regarding the security patches in this release. Assuming no major problems, FPR32.3 will go live Monday evening Pacific time as usual. FPR32.4 will appear on September 7 and the final official build FPR32.5 on October 5.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

And now for something completely different: Australia needs to cut the crap with expats

I'm going to be very tightly focused in this post, because there are tons of politics swirling around COVID-19 (and anyone who knows my actual line of work will know my opinions about it); any comments about masks, vaccines, etc. will be swiftly removed. Normally I don't discuss non-technical topics here, but this is a situation that personally affects me and this is my blog, so there. I want to talk specifically about the newly announced policy that Australians normally resident overseas will now require an exemption to leave the country.

(via twitter)

I am an Australian-American dual citizen (via my mother, who is Australian, but is resident in the United States), and my wife of five years is Australian. She is legimately a resident of Australia because she was completing her master's degree there and had to teach in the Australian system to get an unrestricted credential. All this happened when the borders closed. Anyone normally resident in Australia must obtain an exemption to leave the country and cite good cause, except to a handful of countries like New Zealand (who only makes the perfectly reasonable requirement that its residents have a spot in quarantine for when they return).

It was already difficult to exit Australia before, which is why, for the six weeks that I've gotten to see my wife since January 2020, it was me traveling to Australia. Here again many thanks to Air New Zealand, who were very understanding on rescheduling (twice) and even let us keep our Star Alliance Gold status even though we weren't flying much, I did my two weeks of quarantine, got my two negative tests, and was released into the hinterlands of regional New South Wales to visit that side of the family. Upon return to Sydney Airport, it was a simple matter to leave the country, since it was already obvious in the immigration records that I don't normally reside in it.

(The nearly abandoned International Terminal in Sydney when I left.)

Now, there is the distinct possibility that if I can land a ticket to visit my wife, and if I can get space in hotel quarantine (at A$3000, plus greatly inflated airfares), despite being fully vaccinated, I may not be able to leave. Trying to get my credentials approved in Australia has been hung up for months so I wouldn't be able to have a job there in my current employ, and with my father currently on chemo, if he were to take a turn for the worse there are plenty of horror stories of Australians being unable to see terminally ill family members due to refused exemptions (or, adding insult to injury, being approved when they actually died).

I realize as (technically) an expat there isn't much of a constituency to join, but even given we're in the middle of a pandemic this crap has to stop. Restricting entries is heavyhanded, but understandable. Reminding those exiting that they're responsible for hotel or camp quarantine upon return is onerous (and should be reexamined at minimum for those who have indeed gotten the jab), but defensible. Preventing Australian citizens from leaving altogether, especially those with family, is unconscionable and the arbitrary nature of the exemption process is a foul joke.

If Premier Palaszczuk can strike a pose at the International Olympic Committee and Prime Minster Morrison can go gallivanting with randos in English pubs, those of us who are vaccinated and following the law should have that same freedom. I should be able to visit my wife and she should be able to visit me.

Friday, July 30, 2021

And now for something completely different: "Upgrading" your Quad G5 LCS

One of the most consistently popular old posts on this blog is our discussion on long-life computing and how to extend the working, arguably even useful, life of your Power Mac. However, what I think gives it particular continued traction is it has a section on how to swap out the liquid cooling system of the Quad G5, obviously the most powerful Power Macintosh ever made and one of the only two G5 systems I believe worth using (the other being the dual-processor 2.3GHz, as it is aircooled). LCSes are finicky beasts under the best of conditions and certain liquid-cooled models of the G5 line have notoriously bad reputations for leakage. My parents' dual 2.5GHz, for example, succumbed to a leak and it ended up being a rather ugly postmortem.

The Quad G5 is one of the better ones in this regard and most of the ones that would have suffered early deaths already have, but it still requires service due to evaporative losses and sediment, and any Quad on its original processors is by now almost certainly a windtunnel under load. An ailing LCS, even an intact one, runs the real risk of an unexpected shutdown if the CPU it can no longer cool effectively ends up exceeding its internal thermal limits; you'll see a red OVERTEMP light illuminate on the logic board when this is imminent, followed by a CHECKSTOP. Like an automotive radiator it is possible to open the LCS up and flush the coolant (and potentially service the pumps), but this is not a trivial process. Additionally, those instructions are for the single-pump Delphi version 1 assembly, which is the more reliable of the two; the less reliable double-pump Cooligy version 2 assemblies are even harder to work on.

Unfortunately our current employment situation requires I downsize, so I've been starting on consolidating or finding homes for excess spare systems. I had several spare Quad G5 systems in storage in various states, all version 2 Cooligy LCSes, but the only LCS assemblies I have in stock (and the LCS in my original Quad G5) are version 1. These LCSes were bought Apple Certified Refurbished, so they were known to be in good condition and ready to go; as the spare Quads were all on their original marginal LCSes and processors, I figured I would simply "upgrade" the best-condition v2 G5 with a v1 assembly. The G5 service manual doesn't say anything about this, though it has nothing in it indicating that they aren't interchangeable, or that they need different logic boards or ROMs, and now having done it I can attest that it "just works." So here's a few things to watch out for.

Both the v1 and the v2 assemblies have multiple sets of screws: four "captive" (not really) float plate screws, six processor mount screws, four terminal assembly screws (all of which require a 3mm flathead hex driver), and four captive ballheads (4mm ballhead hex). Here's the v1, again:

And here's the v2. Compare and contrast.
The float plate screws differ between the two versions, and despite the manual calling them "captive" can be inadvertently removed. If your replacement v1 doesn't have float plate screws in it, as mine didn't, the system will not boot unless they are installed (along with the terminal assembly screws, which are integral portions of the CPU power connections). I had to steal them from a dead G5 core module that I fortunately happen to have kept.

Once installed, the grey inlet frame used in the v2 doesn't grip the v1:

The frame is not a necessary part. You can leave it out as the front fan module and clear deflector are sufficient to direct airflow. However, if you have a spare v1 inlet frame, you can install that; the mounting is the same.

The fan and pump connector cable is also the same between v1 and v2, though you may need to move the cable around a bit to get the halves to connect if it was in a wacky location.

Now run thermal calibration, and enjoy your renewed Apple PowerPC tank.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

TenFourFox FPR32 SPR2 available

TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 32 Security Parity Release 2 "32.2" is available for testing (downloads, hashes). There are no changes to the release notes and nothing particularly notable about the security patches in this release. Assuming no major problems, FPR32.2 will go live Monday evening Pacific time as usual.