1

As I logged into my admin account to set some things up on my Macbook (I surf using a standard account), I noticed via my third-party firewall application, Little Snitch, that mDNSResponder had accepted an incoming connection from the name given to the very same Macbook on the LAN - [name]'s-Macbook-Pro.local.

I was wondering:

(1) What does this actually mean?

(2) As long as I don't have any sharing options enabled, would my Macbook be at risk of any malware related/intrusion issues if I were to accept this connection even once? E.g. someone attempting to brute force my admin password to remote login etc

Running OS X 10.11.1, built-in firewall set to block all incoming connections, Little Snitch 3.6.1. I'm on a home wifi network. There are 2 other Macbooks, 3 iPhones and 1 laptop running Windows on the same network.

2

The mDNSResponder is responsible to handle (beyond other aspects) automatic distribution and resolution of computer hostnames without using a dedicated DNS-server. In the OS X world this is called the Bonjour service. The local names of all Bonjour (or zeroconf) enabled devices - including your host - are sent to a special multicast address: 224.0.0.251.

To detect those devices the firewalls have to open the respective port and accept incoming connection.

Since your host probably is the only receiver and sender in your local network there is no special risk to accept those incoming connections.

In larger, non-SOHO or non-home networks security issues exist:

Security issues (wikipedia):

Because mDNS operates under a different trust model than unicast DNS—trusting the entire network rather than a designated DNS server, it is vulnerable to spoofing attacks by any system within the multicast IP range. Like SNMP and many other network management protocols, it can also be used by attackers to quickly gain detailed knowledge of the network and its machines. Because of this, applications should still authenticate and encrypt traffic to remote hosts (e.g. via RSA, SSH, etc.) after discovering and resolving them through DNS-SD/mDNS.

  • I was wondering if you could clarify what you mean by "[s]ince your host probably is the only receiver and sender in your local network"? – oats58459 Nov 27 '15 at 10:37

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