Apple acquired firmware security company LegbaCore in November 2015, according to security researcher Trammell Hudson, who revealed the acquisition in his presentation
at the 32C3 conference in December. LegbaCore's goal, according
to founder Xeno Kovah, is "to help build systems that are as secure as we know how to make."
In November, Kovah and fellow LegbaCore founder Corey Kallenberg revealed
that they had joined Apple as full-time employees. Just a couple days before that, LegbaCore's website announced
that it would "not be accepting any new customer engagements", noting that the website would remain up "to serve as a reference for LegbaCore's past work."
LegbaCore had collaborated with Hudson on Thunderstrike 2
, the first firmware worm to affect Mac computers. The malware is impossible to remove, resistant to both firmware and software updates. LegbaCore and Hudson had alerted Apple to Thunderstrike 2's vulnerabilities and Apple began work on fixes, issuing one in June 2015.
On Twitter, Kovah said that Apple began
discussions with LegbaCore after the consultancy's presentation in summer 2015. It soon became clear
to Kovah and Kallenberg that Apple had "some *very* interesting and highly impactful work" that the two could participate in. They were eventually convinced to wind down LegbaCore's existing contracts and begin work at Apple.
While LegbaCore is a security consultancy firm that doesn't own any specific technology, it's likely Apple will use Kovah and Kallenberg's talent and knowledge to help improve firmware and software security in future iterations of Apple's various hardware and software products. LegbaCore's work includes research
on Thunderstrike 2, "dead code" for BIOS attacks and more.