There seems to be no beginning to Apple’s security.
For years, Apple users have had no protection from viruses and relied on the fact that no one would want to hack into their machines and steal their Coldplay collection and Winnie the Pooh ebooks.
Security researcher Charlie Miller told Forbes that he found laptop microcontroller chips are shipped with default passwords. These can be worked out and used as a hiding spot for malware which can disable the battery and even blow it up.
The problem is common to several MacBooks, MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs. According to Forbes Apple just did not seem to think about someone daring to mess with the battery.
While you might think it would be hard to find out what these passwords are, Miller just used ones associated with a 2009 Apple software update. It looks like the security geniuses at Apple have not thought to change them since.
Armed with the code, Miller could switch off several batteries, and fiddle with the operating system and charger. He could completely rewrite the chip’s firmware and we guess he was not trying to make things a little more secure.
Hackers could install malware on the chip to infect the rest of the computer and steal data, control its functions, or cause it to crash.
The batteries he studied have safeguards against explosions, but it should be possible to remotely cause them to explode on command, Miller claimed.
Apple’s refusal to let users change their own batteries makes the whole thing even more dangerous because if the system becomes infected it is much harder to fix.
Some corners of the press insists that users have nothing to worry about. After all, only Windows machines get hacked and no one is going to bother with trying to take over the battery.