[ISN] MacBook batteries susceptible to hack attacks

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2011 01:47:29 -0500 (CDT)

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
The Register
22nd July 2011

Now that Apple has endowed the Mac operating system with 
state-of-the-art security protections, a researcher has devised new 
attacks that target the machine's battery.

Charlie Miller, well known for his numerous attacks on iPhones and Macs, 
may not have achieved his ultimate objective of making a Mac 
spontaneously combust, but he has figured out how to permanently disable 
the battery. And in time, he said, it also may be possible to remotely 
hijack a machine by manipulating the firmware on one of the stored power 
supply's chips.

"What I found was you can make any change you want to the software that 
runs on the battery," Miller, who is principal research consultant at 
security firm Accuvant and the other coauthor of The Mac Hacker's 
Handbook, told The Reg. "I also saw that you can mess up the chip so it 
won't function anymore. You can't recover from that. You couldn't even 
take it to the genius bar."

The flaw making all of this possible is the result of Apple's decision 
to ship MacBook batteries without changing the passwords needed to run 
updates or make low-level changes to their embedded controllers. By 
reverse-engineering past updates, he had no trouble deducing the pass 


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Received on Sun Jul 24 2011 - 23:47:29 PDT

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