Apple T2 security chip in new MacBooks disconnects Microphone when lid is closed
5.11.2018 securityaffairs Apple
Apple has implemented a new feature to protect the privacy of its MacBooks users aimed at preventing malicious software from spying on them.
The Apple T2 security chip installed in the new series of MacBooks includes a new hardware feature that physically disconnects the built-in microphone when the lid is closed.
The new T2 chip is installed in the 2018 MacBook Pro models that were presented earlier this year, but it was revealed only last week.
The feature is implemented in hardware because it is able to prevent rootkit and software with kernel privileges to control the microphone of the MacBooks.
“All Mac portables with the Apple T2 Security Chip feature a hardware disconnect that ensures that the microphone is disabled whenever the lid is closed.” reads the Apple security overview.
“This disconnect is implemented in hardware alone, and therefore prevents any software, even with root or kernel privileges in macOS, and even the software on the T2 chip, from engaging the microphone when the lid is closed. (The camera is not disconnected in hardware because its field of view is completely obstructed with the lid closed.) “
The new feature was presented last week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.
Experts are skeptical about this feature because the attackers can continue to spy on MacBooks users when they are working and the lid is open.
It would be better to implement a disconnect feature through a manual switch that allows the users to choose when turning the microphone/camera off.
Apple T2 chip security also implements other security features such as the Secure Enclave coprocessor which provides the foundation for APFS encrypted storage, secure boot, and Touch ID on Mac