Updating firmware on mac

A high-level summary of what our analysis highlighted is summarized below: The upshot of all of the above is that the state of your Mac’s EFI firmware may not be what you expect it to be, and in a number of circumstances, this may leave you vulnerable to a variety of known public EFI security issues. In many situations, answers to those questions would be ‘badly’ and ‘we probably wouldn’t be able to.’ In those situations, it would be well worth considering end of life’ing Macs that cannot have updated EFI firmware applied, or moving them into roles where they are not exposed to EFI attacks (physically secure, controlled network access).

While EFI attacks are currently considered both , depending on the nature of the work your organization does and the value of the data you work with, it’s quite possible that EFI attacks fall within your threat model.

In this regard, vulnerability to EFI security issues should carry the same weight as vulnerability to software security issues and you need to determine if you can accept the risk of having vulnerable (and potentially unpatchable) systems in your environment.

updating firmware on mac-13

Recent leaks of attack tooling under the moniker Vault 7 reignited some interest in the space of EFI boot/rootkits as there was one dubbed Sonic Screwdriver that made use of vulnerabilities that had been discussed publicly at security conferences in years past.

If you’re interested in reading more about EFI attacks and vulnerabilities that have been previously discovered, then there are links for further reading at the end of this post.

Note that we didn’t say , there are variety of scenarios we could construct where your system’s vulnerability to an EFI security issue could be used against a home user, such as when crossing the border into or out of a country.

However for situations, the risk is currently not severe.

These mappings provided us with an oracle that, when it was given the OS version and Mac model as inputs, it would provide the version of EFI that system be running.

We could then compare the EFI version we expect a system to be running against the EFI version we actually observed it running in reality.

Ultimately, you are the only one who can make the determination of your threat model and what level of risk you’re prepared to accept.

If you feel like vulnerability to EFI issues is unacceptable, then there may be a shiny new computer in your future (and if you’ve been looking for an excuse to get a new system then feel free to blame it on us, we’re happy to help! This blog post has only skimmed the surface of the research we performed, the data we gathered and the conclusions and findings we arrived at.

In addition to the paper, we’re also pleased to be able to release some of the tooling and APIs we have developed during this work with the aim of helping Apple Mac users and admins get better visibility to the state of the EFI their Mac systems are running and any potential problems there may be.

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