Hackers have long targeted users through email and the Internet, but a new exploit allows hackers to target the batteries of Apple users, rending them inoperable, or worse.
Security researcher Chris Miller of Accuvant detailed a process by which someone with malicious intent could compromise the processor that manages the battery on Macbook laptops.
The battery has its own processor and firmware and I wanted to get into the chip and change things and see what problems would arise, Miller told threatpost.com.
Sifting through battery update packages that Apple released in 2009, Miller discovered two passwords that give him access to the battery's onboard chip. From there he had access to do as he pleased.
You can read all the firmware, make changes to the code, do whatever you want. And those code changes will survive a reinstall of the OS, so you could imagine writing malware that could hide on the chip on the battery, Miller said.
The hack is a proof of concept and there have not yet been any reports of it actually being used yet. But Miller will explain the exploit in more detail at next month's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.
I started out thinking I wanted to see if a bad guy could make your laptop blow up. But that didn't happen, he said. There are all kinds of things engineers build into these batteries to make them safe, and this is just one of them. I don't know if you could really melt the thing down.
An Apple representative declined to comment on Miller's findings.