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.

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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.

Related Forum: OS X Yosemite

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Top Rated Comments

steve333 Avatar
124 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
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redheeler Avatar
124 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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zombiecakes Avatar
124 months ago
just release it already, Im so sick of the wifi disconnects
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citi Avatar
124 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....
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacsRgr8 Avatar
124 months ago
We salute .........Apple

For Those About to Update.... We Salute You! :cool:
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Daalseth Avatar
124 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.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)