Slack: User-assisted RCE in Slack for macOS (from official site) due to improper quarantine meta-attribute handling for downloaded files

ID H1:470637
Type hackerone
Reporter metnew
Modified 2019-09-14T22:28:54



GateKeeper/Quarantine bypass for downloaded files

Lack of meta-attribute for downloaded files allows a remote attacker to send an executable file that won't be checked by Gatekeeper .

File opening doesn't trigger native alerts from GateKeeper/Quarantine

> Downloaded executable files lack meta-attribute => no alerts about launching an executable from the web will appear.

Code execution after opening

Opening a downloaded .terminal file in Slack via "Shift + Click" (or in Finder) immediately leads to running attacker's code on a target device.

.terminal file

  1. Opening leads to command execution.
  2. Looks safe - XML file.
  3. Downloaded .terminal file couldn't be opened if application sets quarantine meta-attribute properly. However, Slack (Direct Download) doesn't do that.

Attack scenario

  1. Attacker sends exploit.terminal to the victim. File looks like a plaintext file in preview.
  2. Victim opens exploit.terminal file via "Shift + Click" (or via Finder)
  3. No alert from Gatekeeper about unsigned executable
  4. No alert about running executable file downloaded from the web
  5. Shell commands from exploit.terminal get executed with user-level privileges.


Decribed scenario is reproducible in Slack 3.3.3 Direct Download. Slack from AppStore has correct quarantine rules and isn't vulnerable.

Additional details

exploit.terminal attached + Screencast attached.


macOS is build in such way that OS will ask user before opening any downloaded and potentially launchable (in default setup) files. This rule applies to .terminal files too.


  • no quarantine -> exploit.terminal is launchable in 1 click without warning a user with popups
  • quarantine -> no immediate launch for all files (2 popups) + no RCE is possible if GateKeeper level set to "AppStore only"



Attacker could send a crafted .terminal file to the victim, which will be executed immediately after opening this file via "Open" button or in Finder.

The attack scenario requires a certain level of user interaction. But the file looks safe and the victim doesn't expect that it'll be launched immediately

Additional Impact

GateKeeper bypass allows running arbitrary apps in environments hardened with Gatekeeper settings set to "AppStore only".