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Newly discovered security issue in Apple’s T2 security chip may cause root access

Apple T2 Security Chip MacBook

A recently discovered vulnerability affects macOS systems with the Intel processor and T2 chip. The cybersecurity researcher who discovered the vulnerability says that it is not patchy and could potentially provide root access to attackers.

Most of the new MacBooks come with a T2 security chip designed by Apple. It is based on an A1

0 ARM processor and has the task of selecting functions such as sound processing, I / O handling and participation as a hardware security module. Furthermore, T2 runs on bridgeOS, which is updated every time you update your Mac.

The utilization is called check8 and was originally developed for the iPhone X. Interestingly, the iPhone X is powered by an A10 processor, and the T2 chip is also modeled after the A10 processor. Usually the T2 chip throws a fatal error when it receives a decryption call. However, attackers can bypass the check using a blackbird vulnerability. The worst part is that sepOS / BootROM is read-only memory, which means that Apple will not be able to patch this without changing the hardware.

The good news is that attackers will require physical access to the system and use devices such as malicious USB-C cables or other hardware. Furthermore, the vulnerability may be to bypass security locks and built-in activation lock manually. Access to T2 will give the attacker access to full kernel rights. Disk encryption can to some extent prevent the attack. However, attackers can gain access to keyboards by injecting key loggers into the T2 firmware.

How does it affect macOS users?

The security researcher says that the vulnerability can bypass several access levels. The attacker could potentially bypass the activation lock, allowing macOS devices to be unlocked and sold on the black market. Mac users are advised to use Apple Configurator to reinstall bridgeOS on the T2 Chip, and most importantly, do not leave the device unattended. Never connect an unknown USB device.