Monday, October 9, 2017

Boot Bug in Macs and PC’s

 Mac
Your Mac or Pc could be at risk. Duo security a leading security agency has recently reported that a number of computers could be at risk from sophisticated attacks on personal data stored in computers due to outdated tech.

Many macs were the subject of this research, with many found not to be updating core firmware. This poses a major problem as these computers could be the subject of organized hacking. Although the software, that is operating systems, are being updated on a regular basis especially with prompts given by the computer itself, the basic firmware is not being updated in some computers.

This firmware is known as Extensible Firmware Interface or EFI in short. What it does is to ensure that the computer starts up and runs the main operating system. What it basically means is that it is the foundation for all the rest of the software programs. Of course this is not a problem that relates to only Apple computers but also to windows run computers. Research shows that windows run computers may be even adversely affected due to the fact that computers are made by a range of manufacturers thereby making it difficult to bring all the security for the firmware under a single umbrella or to follow common standards.

Research of more than seventy thousand has showed that some computers could be at risk from a well- resourced and organized hacker such as foreign governments, for espionage purposes. While it may not pose so much of a threat to house users, it could cause serious problems for big players in the field such as government bodies running on outdated versions, banks, top companies and the like.

The boot bug problem is even more serious because of the fact that it does not inform the user of updates to the firmware. Duo security was alarmed to see that so many macs were susceptible to boot bug. They had to go back and double check the results to ensure that they had reached the right conclusions.

How boot bug came into focus is when researchers studied mac computers to see whether they updated firmware when software was updated, which is supposed to be done automatically when software is updated (No prompts are given to the users to update firmware separately) , they found that few computers were not doing the same. At least 4.2% of the computers tested were not being updated. This led to the question as to why this was not happening. Till date no conclusive answer has been reached.

As many as 16 models of Apple macs have been affected by boot bug. Duo security is now providing various tools to be used to identify boot bug in various organizations. Apple has not only appreciated the finding but is also working alongside the security firm to analyze the cause of boot bug. So far both companies are not able to find the answer for such a problem.

Apple has addressed the problem by releasing a feature known as High Sierra which is a software that runs in the background and checks every week to see if firmware is being updated. If this is not happening then the user is informed to contact the company.

Apple said in an interview that it is committed to providing the best security possible to their users and is taking steps to rectify the issue.

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