A new feature in macOS Big Sur allows Apple’s own apps to bypass firewalls and VPNs—potentially letting malware also exploit the same shortcoming to access sensitive data stored on users’ systems and transmit them to remote servers.
The latest version of macOS was released to the public on 12th November 2020, the behaviour has been left unchanged, prompting concerns from security researchers, who say the change is ripe for abuse.
Of particular note is the possibility that the bypass can leave macOS systems open to attack, not to mention the inability to limit or block network traffic at users’ discretion.
Apple is yet to comment on the new changes.
While the company’s motivation to make its own apps exempt from firewalls and VPNs is still unclear, it’s possible that they are part of Apple’s “anti-malware (and perhaps anti-piracy) efforts” to keep traffic from its apps out of VPN servers and prevent geo-restricted content from being accessed through VPNs.