It’s not nice to fool Mother Apple

Daring Fireball: Dropbox’s MacOS Security Hack. Gruber rounds up a bunch of links on Dropbox’s bad security practices in its Mac client. Basically, as documented by Phil Stokes, Dropbox asks for your admin password, injects itself into the list of applications that can “control your computer” in the Security & Privacy control panel, and reinjects itself if it’s removed from the list. Thankfully Apple has closed the loophole that allowed this to happen.

The conclusions I take from this:

  1. Dropbox really wanted to ensure that it could take some action that required Accessibility apps
  2. Their product manager didn’t trust users to grant the right authorizations and didn’t want to give them the ability to remove the permissions
  3. Their engineering staff either didn’t push back or got rolled over
  4. Their security staff either wasn’t consulted or didn’t think that this was dangerous—surely no one would ever find a vulnerability in the Dropbox Mac Client and use it to run unauthorized code? Oh wait.

Their PMs respond: the Accessibility permissions were necessary to integrate with other third party applications, and Apple’s APIs didn’t grant the right level of access.

As they say: Developing