At the recent Black Hat computer security conference in New York, security researcher Charlie Miller of Accuvant Labs http://www.accuvant.com/capability/accuvant-labs/security-research/featu... announced that he discovered a flaw in an embedded controller used in the lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries found in many Macs laptops, including these:
- MacBook Pro
- MacBook Air
A Computer Virus? On a Mac?
According to Miller, the controllers were shipped with a default password (the same for each controller), which could permit hackers to access the firmware, modify it, and take control of the controller. This capability, in the wrong hands, can lead to safety issues, such as overcharging or fire, Miller said, although he hadn't tested that theory.
His research did discover that the flaw could permit attackers to further hack the interface between the OS and the battery and then install malware that would continue to re-infect the system until the battery is removed.
Protect Your Mac from Attack and Possible Data Loss
For Mac users, who have been operating for years under the assumption that Macs are “safer” and less prone to viruses than PCs, the news came as a shock. Will your Mac just explode following a security breech? Probably not. But it could become infected with a virus resulting in catastrophic data loss.
This news report opens our eyes to importance of diligent security measures for any computer, smartphone, netbook or tablet that regularly accesses the Internet.
Mac users, just like PC users, should always access the internet over a secure connection, change passwords frequently, and disable Java on your browser. One more thing: Keep the phone number for 24 Hour Data handy.
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