Your Mac is not as safe as you think as two researchers have proven it by creating a new virus, and the Apple worm will eat away your Mac computer until there’s nothing left. Telling a hacker that a company made an unhackable device is like an open invitation and they’re likely to poke and prod until they find vulnerability.
Famously, Apple devices have been claimed as being safer than Windows running computers, after showing a few possible security breaches for anyone to gain access. However, Macs are not that safe either, as a security engineer, Xeno Kovah, has fully displayed the weaknesses of the Apple product by creating Thunderstrike 2.0.
The first version was already patched against and systems became immune, but a new version showed that it’s not yet invulnerable. Thunderstrike 2.0 will infect your computer’s primary firmware (BIOS, UEFI or EFI), which is the piece of software that boots all other components and starts your operating system.
Meaning that the Apple Mac will be rotted at its very core, where no malware detection or anti-virus software can reach. Unlike usual viruses that attack your RAM files, this one will set its target on all ROM options. It’s the perfect place for it to hide and will began working as soon as you fire up your computer.
Once inside your computer, the attack can be viciously subtle. The user will not know of its presence and it will be able to gather important and very private data, ranging from website logins to banking details, and even log keystrokes, which means that it will essentially know everything you typed.
Macs have shown five of the six vulnerabilities present in Windows PC’s, and Thunderstrike 2.0 has multiple ways of sneaking in. E-mail attachments, infected downloads, websites or even a network connected to the WiFi router, all are a risk of leading the virus in.
It is a highly contagious infection, as it can easily go from your Mac to other external devices you might connect, such as a portable HDD, breaking them all apart within their BIOS. And even if you detect the problem and reinstall your operating system from scratch, the virus will still remain within the computer’s primary software.
This means that the only solution would be to just throw your Mac away, since most organizations do not have the means and the knowledge to physically open up the computer and reprogram the chip.
Kovah will present and demonstrate his findings at Black Hat on the 6th of August and Def Con on the 8th.
He will also release a free tool to help users check all their ROM options for Thunderstrike 2.0 and, while Apple has been notified of the weakness, they have given no statements. However, a patch fix is likely coming.
Image source: openlab.citytech.cuny.edu