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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Another possible security breach for your laptop

    PC World has listed an article about a possible security breach through your laptop battery. Check it out.
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  2. #2
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    Thanks for posting that Ted. I read an article on Sophos about it last week.

    I think the summary at the end of that article:
    So, are Apple laptop batteries the new attack vector? Could a virus set your beloved Macbook on fire?

    The answer to the first question is: no more so that any other hardware in your system with field-updatable firmware. That includes the motherboard itself, your wireless card, your 3G modem, network card, graphics device, storage devices and much more. Including, of course, the battery pack. And - as Apple fans reading this article will be happy to note - the risk is not unique to Apple, though Charlie Miller's paper is.

    The answer to the second question seems to be: not if the battery is correctly manufactured. As Andy Greenberg points out on Forbes.com, "the batteries [Miller] examined have other safeguards against explosions: fuses that contain an alloy that melts at high temperatures to break the circuit and prevent further charging."
    puts it a little more calmly than some other techie sites I've seen the story on.

    But then headlines like "A Hacker Speaks: How Malware Might Blow Up Your Laptop" do sell more column inches.

    My take on it is this: yes there is a risk, but no greater risk than other hardware (such as the Aldi Hard Drives).

    It's a bad world out there, so take the usual precautions and all should be well.

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I agree this appears to be another small security risk, but one I never knew about. I'm unsure if an end user could do anything about this one at this time. I think it points out more that we users have to continue to be vigilant with our security. I would be willing to bet there are millions of PC's out there with NO security apps and their owners blissfully unaware of what's happening, and have no idea why their PC's don't work correctly.
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  4. #4
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    Yup, I think the only thing one can do to prevent these kinds of third party attacks is to remain vigilant. For example, I routinely format new USB hard drives on a Linux box before attaching them to my machines or those of my clients.

    The battery attack can't be prevented by anything like that, so I think we have to rely on the antimalware tools installed on our systems, coupled with the good old fashioned Mk I Eyeball and Nose - if it looks bad and smells bad it probably is bad.

    I doubt it will be long before someone tries to exploit the weakness to pop up a message that the battery needs to download a new firmware (from a legitimate looking but compromised site), hence attacking the host machine just like the fake antimalware that we have all seen.

    Scary stuff.....

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