Apple apparently plans to tighten its security features for downloaded software on the Mac. In the current macOS version Ventura, a new attribute called “com.apple.provenance” is set after a check by the Gatekeeper system function. This is reported by the expert Mark Zimmermann in the Pro-Forum on Mac & i Pro.
According to Zimmermann, it is still unclear exactly what the new attribute is supposed to do. Provenance might contain extended information about where the file was loaded. According to Zimmermann, after a successful check, a binary reference is entered. There is also speculation about the attribute in other forums on the internet. A concern that has been voiced in the past is that Apple may restrict free software downloads in favor of the Mac App Store.
Gatekeeper was introduced in 2012
Apple introduced the Gatekeeper in the Mac operating system in 2012. It verifies downloaded apps and is supposed to protect against malware. The software does this with the help of code signatures, which are included with apps from the Mac App Store anyway. Developers who sell their software via the Internet or other channels can have their apps signed by Apple in the form of certification (notarization). Notarization has been mandatory since macOS 10.14.5.
Since OS X Leopard, the system has placed files with an incorrect or no signature in a file quarantine. This can only be overridden manually via the Settings app.
This is how quarantine works
“The extended attribute com.apple.quarantine identifies this quarantine and displays a warning message to the user,” explains Zimmermann on Mac & i Pro the gatekeeper’s procedure. “After successful verification by the gatekeeper, the quarantine flag is reset and the app can be used like apps downloaded from the App Store.”
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