Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 1st Aug 2009 18:22 UTC
Apple Almost everything has a processor and/or memory chips these days, including keyboards. Apple's keyboards are no exception; they have 8Kb of flash memory, and 256 bytes of RAM. K. Chen has found a way to very easily install keyloggers and other possibly malicious code right inside these Apple keyboards (more here). Proof of concept code is here as well.
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WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

A vulnerability that requires physical access to the machine in order to be enabled, and relies on the keyboard not being at the latest firmware version (the firmware updater won't download or run an image unless it's newer than the current one installed) is hardly world shaking news.

Umm, they only need to disassemble the firmware updater and copy the lines of code that do the actual magic of updating the firmware, OR they can just fool it to think the firmware is not the latest available one. POOF! That was the sound of your argument just getting shot down.

Secondly, it does not require physical access: if you can get malware on the Mac then you have access to the keyboard firmware, too.

Thirdly, you don't need to get malware on the Mac at all or know any passwords or anything if you just can get physical access to the keyboard and attach it to your netbook/notebook/laptop and update the firmware there.

Reply Parent Score: 3

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

But then you have this other problem... you'd need to convince the users to run it, since it couldn't be done by a web scripting language and even Safari won't just execute an arbitrary file on the machine.

Reply Parent Score: 2

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

But then you have this other problem... you'd need to convince the users to run it, since it couldn't be done by a web scripting language and even Safari won't just execute an arbitrary file on the machine.

Do you mean the case of malware infecting the computer and then patching the keyboard? Well, the malware would get on the computer the same way it usually does... either some security hole, or an unknowing user. The firmware on the keyboard doesn't need to be executed, it's always running on the keyboard as long as there's power to it..

Reply Parent Score: 2

anduril Member since:
2005-11-11

Most people can be convinced fairly easily to do something stupid on the computer. This is arguably what makes malware so effective on windows (Ohhh...shiney shit lets install!). Do you really think mac users are so superior that mom and pop wouldn't click yes, run this crap if it looks official?

Then, its game over. OSX isnt truely anymore secure from a programming standpoint (as the researchers and hackers are showing) but rather due to sizing and time constraints. Why waste time on 5% (or whatever the install base is) and exploiting a hole when you can easily exploit a hole with a user base thats 90%?

Reply Parent Score: 1