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OS X 10.10.2 Includes Fix for 'Thunderstrike' Hardware Exploit Affecting Macs

Apple is readying a fix in OS X 10.10.2 for the so-called "Thunderstrike" hardware exploit targeting Macs equipped with Thunderbolt ports, iMore has learned. According to the report, Apple patched the vulnerability by making code changes in the upcoming software update that prevent a Mac's bootrom from being replaced or rolled back to a previous state in which it could be attacked.
To secure against Thunderstrike, Apple had to change the code to not only prevent the Mac's boot ROM from being replaced, but also to prevent it from being rolled back to a state where the attack would be possible again. According to people with access to the latest beta of OS X 10.10.2 who are familiar with Thunderstrike and how it works, that's exactly the deep, layered process that's been completed.
Thunderstrike is a serious vulnerability discovered earlier this year by security researcher Trammell Hudson, enabling an attacker to replace a Mac's bootrom with malicious code without a user knowing. Since the malicious code is stored in a low level inaccessible to the user, the problem would remain even if the bootrom was replaced.

macbook_air_pro_yosemite
The proof-of-concept attack is limited in scope, however, as an attacker would require physical access to the Mac or savvy social engineering skills in order to trick a user into attacking his or her Mac themselves. Apple has already addressed the issue in its latest hardware, including the iMac with Retina 5K Display and new Mac mini.

OS X 10.10.2 has been in pre-release testing for over two months and should be made available to the public in the coming days. The most recent OS X 10.10.2 beta was seeded to developers for testing last Wednesday. In addition to the Thunderstrike fix, the upcoming software update addresses security vulnerabilities exposed by Google's Project Zero security team last week.

According to 9to5Mac, the latest OS X Yosemite release will also add iCloud Drive in Time Machine and resolve issues related to Wi-Fi, VoiceOver and security. In particular, a recently identified glitch causing Spotlight on OS X to expose system information to spammers through remote content loading will reportedly be patched. Safari will also gain improved performance and security.

No public instances of Thunderstrike attacks have yet to be reported.



Top Rated Comments

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24 months ago
Apple had better improve performance to at least where my Mini was under mavericks.
Safari stinks as well under Yosemite.
Start-up time is 10 times longer than before as well
Closed system under Apple is supposed to prevent stuff like this from happening and until Yosemite it was pretty much true.

Keep Ivy away from the Operating System!
After seeing what he did to the Mini I wouldn't mind seeing him take a long hike permanently
Rating: 5 Votes
24 months ago

EXCELLENT. I've been hoping I would eventually be able to go to a cloud based backup.


I'd rather see them increase the free storage amount to 10 GB to be more in line with other cloud backup services. Not everyone has the incentive or need to pay for more storage.
Rating: 5 Votes
24 months ago
just release it already, Im so sick of the wifi disconnects
Rating: 4 Votes
24 months ago

the latest OS X Yosemite release will also add iCloud Drive in Time Machine


EXCELLENT. I've been hoping I would eventually be able to go to a cloud based backup.
Rating: 3 Votes
24 months ago

We salute .........Apple


For Those About to Update.... We Salute You! :cool:
Rating: 3 Votes
24 months ago


To what extent have you tried to solve this problem?

[LIST=1]
* Have you switched to a 5GHz network?
* Have you ensured only essential wireless networks are set up in your home? (ie. Turn off any that aren't needed)


Come on now, these are all things that you shouldn't have to do. I have dozens of devices, all types of macs (meaning non-yosemite) macs that haven't had a single problem. Don't blame the user....
Rating: 3 Votes
24 months ago

First, the new release adds the ability for iCloud Drive to be viewed in Time Machine. This means users will be able to track changes over time, and locate lost items that were previously in their iCloud Drive accounts.


It looks like this is a backup of your iCloud Drive, not a backup of your Mac to iCloud Drive.
Rating: 2 Votes
24 months ago

I'd rather see them increase the free storage amount to 10 GB to be more in line with other cloud backup services. Not everyone has the incentive or need to pay for more storage.


If you don't have an incentive or, especially, NEED for more storage - you DON'T need that storage. 20GB is .99$ a month. It's laughable.
Rating: 2 Votes
24 months ago
The Thundetstrike exploit has about as much chance of hitting a Mac user as does a meteorite falling from the sky, possible but not very likely. Be informed but not alarmed by this stuff.

You are more likely to get hacked through a Flash Player flaw than any OS X security issue. The sky is NOT falling and Chicken Little should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Since this is a "low level attack", Apple should patch the last three major OS versions to assure installs that require older versions of third party apps to run are also protected.


Since this attack requires physical access to a machine or somehow tricking a user into plugging in an infected Thunderbolt device while booting the machine I don’t see the point. What, the hotel maid is going infect your Mac while cleaning in your room? That sounds like James Bond nonsense more in the realm of the movies than real life.

But wait until 10.10.2 is released and see if patches are also available for Mavericks and Snow Leopard. And of course Macs without Thunderbolt ports are exempt.

And USB exploits using similar techniques have been around for years. Let me know when mass exploits surface on that.
Rating: 2 Votes
24 months ago
I hope there are Mountain Lion and Mavericks updates coming too.
Rating: 2 Votes

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