COMPUTER VIRUSES AND WORMS : COMPUTER: OPERATING SYSTEMS: APPLE: Researchers Create First Firmware Worm That Attacks Macs

David P. Dillard
 

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COMPUTER VIRUSES AND WORMS :

COMPUTER: OPERATING SYSTEMS:APPLE:

Researchers Create First Firmware Worm That Attacks Macs

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Researchers Create First Firmware Worm That Attacks Macs

Josh Valcarcel

Kim Zetter

Security Date of Publication:

08.03.15.
Time of Publication: 7:00 am.

WIRED

http://www.wired.com/2015/08/researchers-create- first-firmware-worm-attacks-macs/

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/nmkesyl

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The common wisdom when it comes to PCs and Apple computers is that the latter are much more secure. Particularly when it comes to firmware, people have assumed that Apple systems are locked down in ways that PCs arent.

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It turns out this isnt true. Two researchers have found that several known vulnerabilities affecting the firmware of all the top PC makers can also hit the firmware of MACs. Whats more, the researchers have designed a proof-of-concept worm for the first time that would allow a firmware attack to spread automatically from MacBook to MacBook, without the need for them to be networked.

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The attack raises the stakes considerably for system defenders since it would allow someone to remotely target machinesincluding air-gapped onesin a way that wouldnt be detected by security scanners and would give an attacker a persistent foothold on a system even through firmware and operating system updates. Firmware updates require the assistance of a machines existing firmware to install, so any malware in the firmware could block new updates from being installed or simply write itself to a new update as its installed.

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The only way to eliminate malware embedded in a computers main firmware would be to re-flash the chip that contains the firmware.

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[The attack is] really hard to detect, its really hard to get rid of, and its really hard to protect against something thats running inside the firmware, says Xeno Kovah, one of the researchers who designed the worm.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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