MIT student claims to hack Apple Vision Pro on launch day

An Apple Vision Pro user claims to have already found vulnerabilities in the popular augmented reality headset.

Joseph Ravichandran, a PhD student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), shared an image on X with what looks like a Kernel exploit for Apple’s newly launched virtual reality headset, the Vision Pro.

“When the device crashes, it switches to full passthrough and displays a warning to remove the device in 30 seconds so it can reboot. Pretty cool,” writes Ravichandran.

A Kernel exploit is a type of security vulnerability that targets the core component of an operating system. It manages system resources and provides essential services to other parts of the operating system and user applications.

In general, Kernel exploits are typically highly sought after by attackers because they allow unauthorized access to the system, execute malicious code with elevated privileges, or perform other malicious activities. Also, kernel exploits can be used to bypass security mechanisms, escalate privileges, or take control of the entire system.

Cybernews has contacted Ravichandran and Apple for a comment but has yet to receive a response.

Ravichandran is one of the researchers who previously identified the PACMAN attack technique that affects the Apple M1 central processing unit (CPU) to gain arbitrary code execution on Mac systems.

The post about the Kernel exploit comes shortly after Apple rolled out visionOS 1.0.2 software for the Apple Vision Pro headset on January 31st. The updates were supposed to patch security vulnerabilities in the browser engine running Safari and other web applications. The same vulnerabilities were patched by the release of iOS 17.3 on other company devices – iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs.

The long-anticipated headset went on sale on February 2nd at a price starting at $3,499, more than thrice as much as the priciest headset in Meta's line of mixed and virtual reality devices. During pre-sales, the company is estimated to have sold between 160,000 and 180,000 units.

A couple of days after the launch, the Apple Vision Pro took the internet by storm, with users posting how they were using the headset.