August 3, 2011 17:01 by Ty
Apple laptop batteries have a security vulnerability that allows a hacker to damage or brick the laptop battery to be unusable or overcharge the laptop battery to where it can potentially start a fire. Security expert Charlie Miller discovered the security risk by successfully reverse-engineering Apple laptop “smart batteries,” which has allowed Miller to rewrite the embedded controllers for the laptop batteries.
Miller discovered the security flaw with an Apple firmware update in 2009 and noticed the default password used for securing the batteries were the same. This allowed Miller to learn how to read values from the firmware and changed how the battery firmware interacts with the laptop. Miller has successfully bricked over seven Mac laptop batteries. The security vulnerability is focused on the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air laptops.
Miller plans on releasing a firmware update with a utility called “Caulkgun,” which will allow Apple users to change their laptop battery passwords to prevent a security vulnerability. The only downside is that any future Apple patches and updates for the laptop battery would be blocked.