Gone are the days when people people thought that Macs were more secure than Windows. And people were right back in those days, but not anymore. Particularly considering attacks related to firmware.
It was thought that Apple's systems are locked down in ways that PC’s are not. It turned out that wasn’t true. A group of researchers have created a new form or firmware worm that attacks Apple Macbooks, and he worst part is that it can automatically transfer from MacBook to MacBook without them even having to be connected/networked to each other.
This exponentially increases the stakes for system defenders.
When it comes to firmware updates, the updates itself require the assistance of existing firmware. This will give the existing malwares a green light to either block new updates, or simply write itself to the new update after it is being installed.
How to get rid of this malware?
You will have to flash the chip that contains the firmware.
Surprisingly enough, this is the exact kind of attack that intelligence agencies like the NSA would use for surveillance. In fact, in the recent documents released by Edward Snowden, and also by the research conducted by Kaspersky Lab, it shows that NSA has already developed a much more sophisticated technique to hack firmware.
Xeno Kovah, one of the researchers who designed the worm says that the attack “is really hard to detect, it’s really hard to get rid of, and it’s really hard to protect against something that’s running inside the firmware.” He further says that, “For most users that’s really a throw-your-machine-away kind of situation. Most people and organisations don’t have the wherewithal to physically open up their machine and electrically reprogram the chip.”