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Apple patch shields Macs from Thunderstrike

But attack vector may stay open for next evil maid

By Darren Pauli, 27 Jan 2015

Apple will mute the Thunderstrike attack in an upcoming OS X patch, according to a report.

Beta developers told iMore the OSX 10.10.2 release stops the attack and prevents firmware downgrades which could re-enable the vulnerability on patched machines.

The Thunderstrike attack was revealed earlier this month by reverse engineer Trammell Hudson (@QRS).

The exploit uses 35 year-old legacy option ROMs to replace the RSA keys in a Mac's extensible firmware interface (EFI) to allow malicious firmware to be installed and lock out attempts to remove it.

Hudson told the Chaos Communications Congress gabfest that interception of Mac shipments and brief physical 'Evil Maid' access to machines were some of the possible vectors to attack vulnerable computers.

It could also spread quickly through the distribution of infected removable media.

While Hudson's hack may soon be blunted, Cupertino could remain exposed to similar attacks as long as it left option ROMs and Thunderbolt PCIe functions open, the hacker said.

The patch run would also plug three low level holes reported by Google's Project Zero that could be handy when combined with more damaging hacks ®.

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