Even Mac Computers Are Vulnerable To This Worm

Researchers show that even Mac firmwares can be hacked, creating first-ever malware that infects them.

Aug 3 2015, 10:01pm

Image: Benjamin Nagel/Flickr

In March, researchers demonstrated that it was relatively easy to hack a core component of a computer, known as the core firmware or also BIOS, UEFI or EFI, and to infect 80 percent of all computers manufactured by Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, and HP with a type of malware that was extremely hard to detect and remove.

Now, those researchers say they can use the same technique to infect Macs. In fact, the researchers claim to have devised the first-ever worm that can spread through Apple computers' firmware, because, as was first reported by Wired, many manufacturers use very similar code for their firmware.

They called the worm Thunderstrike 2, inspired by previous research on
another Mac virus, and it can be delivered both via phishing email or through a peripheral connected to the USB or ethernet port. The researchers showed off their research the video below.

(Apple did not respond to a request for comment.)

Given that Thunderstrike 2 targets and lives in the firmware, it's a real pain of a worm.

In fact, it's "really hard to detect, it's really hard to get rid of, and it's really hard to protect against something that's running inside the firmware," Xeno Kovah, one of the researchers told Wired. "For most users that's really a throw-your-machine-away kind of situation. Most people and organizations don't have the wherewithal to physically open up their machine and electrically reprogram the chip."

In other words, if you still think Mac don't get viruses or malware, think again.