SandBlaster: Reversing the Apple Sandbox

Preprint English OPEN
Deaconescu, Răzvan ; Deshotels, Luke ; Bucicoiu, Mihai ; Enck, William ; Davi, Lucas ; Sadeghi, Ahmad-Reza (2016)
  • Subject: D.4.6 | Computer Science - Operating Systems | Computer Science - Cryptography and Security
    acm: Software_OPERATINGSYSTEMS

In order to limit the damage of malware on Mac OS X and iOS, Apple uses sandboxing, a kernel-level security layer that provides tight constraints for system calls. Particularly used for Apple iOS, sandboxing prevents apps from executing potentially dangerous actions, by defining rules in a sandbox profile. Investigating Apple's built-in sandbox profiles is difficult as they are compiled and stored in binary format. We present SandBlaster, a software bundle that is able to reverse/decompile Apple binary sandbox profiles to their original human readable SBPL (SandBox Profile Language) format. We use SandBlaster to reverse all built-in Apple iOS binary sandbox profiles for iOS 7, 8 and 9. Our tool is, to the best of our knowledge, the first to provide a full reversing of the Apple sandbox, shedding light into the inner workings of Apple sandbox profiles and providing essential support for security researchers and professionals interested in Apple security mechanisms.
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