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System Extensions - Overview and Guide

Overview and recommendations for system extensions

What Is a System Extension?

System extensions are the modern replacement to kernel extensions (kexts) in macOS Catalina. With system extensions, Apple provides new frameworks for developers to perform tasks previously reserved for kexts. The primary new benefit of system extensions is that they run in the user space rather than in the kernel space; by running in the user space, system extensions cannot compromise the built-in security or stability of macOS. Although kexts do still work in macOS Catalina, Apple has deprecated the use of certain types of them, and developers should work to move their kexts to system extensions as equivalent frameworks become available.

Currently, there are three new system extension frameworks available to replace kexts:

  • DriverKit: Use the new DriverKit framework to create drivers for USB, Serial, NIC, and HID devices that users can install in macOS Catalina. Learn more about DriverKit.
  • Network Extensions: Network extension apps such as content filters, DNS proxies, and VPN clients can now be distributed as system extensions to macOS Catalina. Learn more about NetworkExtension.
  • Endpoint Security: Endpoint security clients, including antivirus software, can now leverage the new EndpointSecurity API to monitor and even block system events to better conform with security policies and protect from potential malicious activity. Learn more about Endpoint Security

Kexts that operate outside of these new frameworks—such as virtualization software—must continue to use kexts until Apple offers equivalent system extension frameworks. 

System extensions can also be allowed using a separate configuration profile. 

At the time this article was written, most applications that used kexts are still using them. We recommend you reach out to your software vendors to encourage them to move to system extensions.

Additional Information:

Kernel Extensions Overview - Apple Developer Documentation Archive

System Extensions - Apple Developer

What Is a Kernel Extension?

Kernel extensions, sometimes referred to as kexts, give developers the ability to load code dynamically into the macOS kernel. They provide access to internal kernel interfaces that enable complex apps to function properly. Examples of such apps include virtualization applications and hypervisors such as Parallels or VMware Fusion.

The Difference Between Kernel Extensions and System Extensions

If you are unsure whether a piece of software uses a system extension or a kext, there are a few ways to find out:

  • Contact the software manufacturer.
  • After installing your software, run the command below to list all active system extensions. If no system extensions are listed, then the software likely leverages a legacy kext; in that case, please see this support article. 
systemextensionsctl list

Here is an example of the output you might see if no system extensions are installed.

Last login: Fri May 22 on ttys
This system is reserved for authorized Kandji use only, and may be monitored.
[email protected] ~ % systemextensionsctl list
0 extension(s)

Here is an example of the output you might see if a system extension is installed.

Last login: Fri May 22 on ttys
This system is reserved for authorized Kandji use only, and may be monitored.
[email protected] ~ % systemextensionsctl list
1 extension(s)


enabled active teamID bundleID (version) name [state]

* * 9PTGMPNXZ2 com.symantec.mes.systemextension

(/) Symantec System Extension

[activated enabled]

Create a System Extension Profile

Follow these steps to create a system extension profile in Kandji that will pre-approve an application's system extension(s). 

  1. Log in to your Kandji instance and navigate to the Library section in the navigation panel.
  2. Click Add New.

    Group 19
  3. Click System Extension then Add and Configure

    Group 18
  4. Give your new profile a name, such as "KEXT allowance."
  5. Optional: If you deselect Allow users to approve system extensions, this will prevent all users on the Mac—including local administrators—from approving additional system extensions not approved via a profile. Additionally, selecting this option will disapprove any system extensions a user has previously approved. 

    Group 17
  6. Input the Team ID; this is the identifier in the third column of the Terminal output generated by the systemextensionsctl list command discussed above.
  7. Optionally provide a Name to associate with the Team ID.
  8. Under the System Extensions portion, you may optionally change the default value of Approve all system extensions. Leaving this option at its default setting will preapprove any System Extension from the specified Team ID. You can optionally set this option to one of the following 
    • Allow specific system extensions: Allows you to specify the exact bundle ID of the specific system extension you want to approve; use the bundle ID generated by the systemextensionsctl list command described above.
    • Allow specific system extension types: Allows you to specify system extension types from a developer—such as endpoint security extensions, driver extensions, or network extensions—that you want to be preapproved. For our Symantec example, we would approve the Endpoint security extensions type, as this matches the extension type generated by the systemextensionsctl list command described above.

      If necessary, you can select the Add Team ID button to allow additional system extensions in a single profile. 
  1. Click Save.Group 16


Sours: https://support.kandji.io/system-extensions

"Legacy System Extension" error on macOS –

Apple released macOS Catalina in March , and provided the , , and updates in the subsequent months. When these versions of macOS detect apps that use 'legacy' system extensions, they produce the following informational message:

Legacy System Extension.
Existing software on your system loaded a system extension signed by "McAfee, Inc." which will be incompatible with a future version of macOS.

Image showing the Legacy System Extension dialog. The dialog has an OK button.

When you see this message, click OK to dismiss it.

Why do you see this message?
Your McAfee software uses a type of system extension known as a kernel extension(or ). Apple identifies kernel extensions as 'legacy' system extensions that will not be supported in future versions of macOS. The message lets you know that your McAfee software must be updated before macOS ends support for kernel extensions.

NOTE: The message appears when a system extension first loads, and appears periodically while the extension remains in use. So, you might see this message multiple times as you use your McAfee software. To dismiss the message, click OK each time that you see it.

What is McAfee doing about this issue?
Although our macOS security products do use kernel extensions, there is no need for concern. The current versions of macOS still support kernel extensions. So, our apps continue to function normally on current versions of macOS, and protect your Mac from viruses and malware.

We plan to update our macOS security products with versions that do not use kernel extensions. Revisit this article regularly for updates on a release date.
Sours: https://service-static.mcafee.com/version_/
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With the release of macOS , Apple introduces a new security feature called kext notarization. You can find information about kext notarization on the following page:

New Notarization Requirements

The macOS update is now available. You can also get the compatible refresh build for the Mac client for version RU1,  in the following ways, from MySymantec, under My Products > Endpoint Protection:

  • Download the All Clients file, which includes the Mac client installation package.
  • Download the Full Installation file, navigate to \SEP_Mac\, and then download Symantec Endpoint Protection.dmg for installation on the Mac client computer.
  • Download the Full Installation file, which includes the package to upgrade Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager. After you upgrade Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager, you can upgrade managed clients automatically.
    See: Upgrading client software with AutoUpgrade
  • Download the Full Installation file, navigate to \SEPM\Packages\, and import the files into your current installation of Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager.
    See: Importing client installation packages into Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager

For more information about using MySymantec, see:

The refresh build applies to on-premises clients managed through Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager and to cloud clients managed by Symantec Endpoint Protection

If you upgrade to macOS before you install the refresh build, the functionality of antivirus, firewall, and intrusion prevention technologies may be affected. You may experience one or more of the following issues:

  • Symantec Endpoint Protection kexts may fail to load.
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection kexts may load and work, but the following warning message displays:

    System Extension Warning
    One or more system extensions that you have approved will be incompatible with a future version of macOS. Please contact “Symantec” for support.

You should therefore delay the operating system upgrade to macOS until you can update Symantec Endpoint Protection to the RU1 refresh build.

Note: While macOS requires the RU1 refresh build, the RU1 refresh build also supports the same macOS versions that RU1 () supports. See System requirements for Endpoint Protection RU1 (INFO) for more information.

Sours: https://support.symantec.com/us/en/article.INFOhtml
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Sours: https://support.norton.com/sp/en/us/home/current/solutions/v

Extension symantec system legacy

How to get more info regarding Legacy System Extensions in MacOS Catalina?

With the upgrade to the most recent version of MacOS Catalina (19E), I received a handful of warnings about this or that legacy system extension:

MacOS Legacy System Extension pop-up

  • Legacy Developer: Sierrawireless
  • Symantec
  • Ploytec GmbH
  • Legacy Developer: Novatelwireles
  • Legacy Developer: Rim
  • Legacy Developer: Lge

The "More Info" button takes one to this Apple Support Page. Some of these look suspiciously old to me, particularly the "Legacy Developer" ones. Rather than "contact[ing] the developer", I'd like to see more information about these extensions and determine two things:

  1. Is this extension related to an app (which I may no longer be using)
  2. How can I remove, safely, an unwanted system extension.

So, any information on how to dig deeper and act upon into these warnings would be appreciated.

asked Apr 13 '20 at

Sours: https://superuser.com/questions//how-to-get-more-info-regarding-legacy-system-extensions-in-macos-catalina
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Question:Q:Legacy System Extension - "Symantec"

Looks like no one’s replied in a while. To start the conversation again, simply ask a new question.


What is this?

I don't understand this Symantec message and what I need to do?

How can I know what software or applications are incompatible?

Posted on May 29, PM

Page content loaded

May 29, PM in response to rhodes65 In response to rhodes65

Installing that Symantec crapware installed a kernel extension on your Mac. Apple is moving away from kernel extensions in a forthcoming operating system release, and this is a warning to get this junk off your Mac before that current unreleased, future operating system upgrade

May 29, PM

May 29, PM in response to VikingOSX In response to VikingOSX

How can you tell which apps/programs, etc., have these extensions that will not be used?

I'm not sure how to locate them.

May 29, PM

May 29, PM in response to rhodes65 In response to rhodes65

You really do want to uninstall Norton/Symantec, but most don't want to hear that

About this Mac>System Report>Software>Extensions, click on Obtained from Header, all that aren't Apple are Legacy.

May 29, PM

User profile for user: rhodes65 rhodes65

Question:Q:Legacy System Extension - "Symantec"

Sours: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/

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