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Apple MacBook Battery Vulnerability Allows Malware Installation

A security researcher has discovered a way to hack the batteries on Apple’s MacBook laptops, it has been revealed.

Talking to Forbes, security researcher Charlie Miller has unearthed a vulnerability in the MacBook battery which could allow a hacker to take over the battery and heat it using a malware.

The researcher, known for his exploits at the pwn2own hack contest, plans to showcase his hack during next month’s Black Hat conference.

“These batteries just aren’t designed with the idea that people will mess with them. What I’m showing is that it’s possible to use them to do something really bad.” he said.

Laptop batteries come with a controller chip which monitors the power level of the device and allows the operating system and the charger to know it is time to charge the batteries. The researcher claims that the vulnerability can be used to install malware on the system which can remain hidden even after the hard disk of the device has been wiped.

“You could put a whole hard drive in, reinstall the software, flash the BIOS, and every time it would reattack and screw you over. There would be no way to eradicate or detect it other than removing the battery.” he explained.

The research on battery vulnerabilities is not new as back in 2009, Barnaby Jack, a researcher from McAfee revealed that he too had worked on a similar project with little success.

Ravi Mandalla was ITProPortal's Sub Editor (and a contributing writer) for two years from 2011. Based in Ahmedabad, India, Ravi is now the owner and founder of Parity Media Pvt. Ltd., a news and media company, which specializes in online publishing, technology news and analysis, reviews, web site traffic growth, web site UI. Ravi lists his specialist subjects as: Enterprise, IT, Technology, Gadgets, Business, High Net Worth Individuals, Online Publishing, Advertising, Marketing, Social Media, News, Reviews, Audio, Video, and Multi-Media. He has also previously worked as Dy. Manager - IT Security at (n)Code Solutions.