macbook pro Archive

Hacker Claims He can Shut Down Apple MacBook Battery

How would you like to wake up one day to a fiery house all because some hacker decided he was going to hack into your MacBook’s battery and blow it up? That would not make for a good day to say the least.

A famous Apple hacker, Charlie Miller, has found a way to hack into Apple Macbooks battery and manipulate the software that controls the battery to basically shut it down. In other words, Miller is able to modify the battery power controller chip, the chip that monitors and controls all laptop battery functions and power management, and shut down the laptop having access to its own battery.

Miller explained how this is possible at a recent presentation at the Black Hat security conference Thursday in Las Vegas.

The exceedingly scary part about Millers discovery is he thinks it could be a way for a hacker with this know-how to actually make the Macbook explode.

CNN sat down the Miller in a Q and A session. The edited transcript is available below for your entertainment. Hopefully what Miller is explaining cannot be replicated by the average hacker or all of some Macbook users may be in for some serous trouble.

CNN: Tell me what you were able to do with Apple’s laptop batteries.
It’s sort of complicated, but the way batteries get charged in your laptop is there’s a little chip in your battery and the computer talks to that chip to figure out what’s going on. That chip will tell it how much charge it has, how much charge it needs, how much charge it should give it — that sort of thing. What I figured out was how to change the software that runs on that chip.
When it comes from the factory, they don’t want you messing with it, so they set up passwords and stuff to prevent you from doing that. There’s two passwords, actually, and Apple didn’t change those, so you can just find documents on the Internet that said what those were and then I could change the firmware on the chips to make it (the battery) do whatever I wanted.

So what does that allow you to do?
Well, you could make it not work anymore. You can make the battery to where the computer doesn’t even know it’s plugged in. …
My goal was to see if I could make one blow. I never did that. There’s lots of different protections to stop that from happening, and also I was a little scared to blow one up in my house, you know.

Why blow it up? Why was that the goal?
I approach it like, what can people do to me, right? So I don’t want to wake up one day and have my computer blow up. I want to be the one looking at that — not the bad guys.
So I found this thing where Apple didn’t change their passwords. Well, now they’re hopefully going to change their passwords, right? So then next time I buy a laptop from Apple I won’t have to worry quite so much that someone will do something (bad).
I released a tool that you could run, if you’re particularly paranoid, that would fix this problem.

Is this the first time a hack has targeted a battery?
No one that I know has ever looked at it — or no one has ever published anything about it. You carry this thing around with you, and it has a chemistry set in it.
Other people go into a store, and they think about what to buy. I think about how to steal stuff. I don’t (actually) do it — that’s just kind of how I think.

You target Apple products primarily. Tell me why you’ve chosen to do that?
That’s a good question. I started this gig four years ago — and so back then the Apple products were way easier to break into than, say, Windows.

Really?
Yeah, they were very far behind in security.
That goes against the common perception.
Yeah, I know. People thought they were secure when they weren’t. And when I told people that, no one would believe me.
So the reason I started is it was easy. But since then, with (OS X) Lion coming out, it’s caught up. Now it’s not any easier anymore. I either have to find something else that’s easier to work on — or whatever.

Do you like Apple products?
Yeah, I have an iPhone in my pocket right now. That’s another reason. If I use it, I want it to be secure. I don’t want Steve Jobs having a commercial saying it’s secure — I want it to actually be secure. That’s my job to figure out what’s secure and what’s not.

Currently, do you think Apple products are more secure than their counterparts?
(Apple) iOS is definitely more secure than Android. Lion is basically comparable to Windows 7. You can nitpick on those two, but they’re basically both really good.
Android is lacking a couple of features that iOS has, so it’s behind.

Do you have any security tips for iPhone users?
Make sure to set a passcode for it. Otherwise, if someone picks up the phone, there’s nothing there. So set a passcode. It’s not going to protect it forever, but at least it’s some barrier for some kid that picks it up.
Don’t jailbreak your phone if you care about the security of it — because that breaks all of the security. Make sure to configure for remote “locate and wipe,” so if you lose it you can either find it or blow away all of your data on it.

How long is your mobile password?
It’s four digits, which Dino (fellow Apple hacker Dino Dai Zovi) showed in his talk you can break in 18 minutes. So if I don’t get my phone back in 18 minutes I’m in trouble. I’ve tried longer ones, but it’s just impractical. I couldn’t stick with it.

How did you get into hacking in the very beginning?
I’ve been into computers and thought hacking was cool. I got my Ph.D. in math from Notre Dame and I got hired by the NSA (National Security Agency) to be a cryptographer. But when I got there, I didn’t really like that, so they had a training program in computer security, so I learned the basics of my training there in an internship.

Where do you do your work?
At my house. I work out of my house. I’m a consultant. I spend half my time doing consultant work and the rest of my time doing research — like this kind of stuff.

Where do you live?
St. Louis.

How long did it take you to do the battery hack?
It took about seven months — it took a really long time. Most of my research projects are like two weeks, or a month or something. But this one was so far from my comfort zone, and there had been so little written about it that it really took a long time.
So basically you’re giving away information about how to break things in an effort to make it more secure. Some people might be confused by that.
I mean, people think that — like with my battery thing — that if people didn’t talk about this, no one would have ever found out about it. And that’s just not the case.
No matter what we talk about here, there’s always bad guys — or guys who are trying to do this to make money — that are just as smart as us. And there are way more of them.
All we can do is present to everyone what we know. You can’t defend against something you don’t know.

Do you feel paranoid using Apple products knowing how many flaws you’ve been able to find in them?
A little bit. But they’ve gotten so much better. Like the iPhone. For the first year, when the iPhone came out, it was horrible. It was awful. It had no security in it, basically — at all. And then when the second iPhone came out it was much better. And since March it’s had basically every feature a security guy would want.
It’s not just me. I think it’s everyone saying they want more secure devices.

Do you work with Apple?
Not exactly. I have a cordial relationship with them. I shared with them my paper on the battery stuff like three weeks before the talk. But then again, if they would have told me not to do it I would have said, “Go to hell.” I don’t want to be their adversary. I want to have them fix stuff — and I want them to get better. I try to share with them.

Are they working on this battery thing?
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot they can do except start again and get it right.

Have hackers ever targeted you?
If they have, I haven’t caught ‘em.
I’d be pretty easy to hack, I think. I don’t practice the best security myself. I’m impatient. So anytime security is going to add a lot of hassle I’m not going to do it.
I’m the cobbler whose kids have no shoes or whatever. And everyone knows exactly the software I use, the hardware I have, so it probably wouldn’t be that hard.
I just try to be a really nice guy so no one wants to go after me.

So, are you anymore scared than you were before reading the transcript above?

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New MacBook Pros With Core i5 and i7 Processors Available Now

new-macbook-pro-core-i5-i7

Today Apple has released all new MacBook Pros with the 15inch and 17 inch versions featuring new Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors with the 13 inch getting new Core2Duo options.

The newly refreshed lineup of MacBook pros feature an upgraded Nvidia GeForce 320M/330M integrated graphics and 4gb of RAM to start off. New to the lineup is a set of display options for the 15inch and 17inch MacBook Pros giving customers the option to choose from a 1440×900 or 1680×1050 resolutions and an “antiglare high-resolution” display on the 15inch version. The 17inch version keeps the normal high resolution display but adds the option for an antiglare screen for just $50.

I would be rather reluctant to spending $1200 for a Core2Duo 13inch system considering many of the PC versions using the same chipset sell for a lot less now. Below are the full specs included in the release today from Apple.

The 2.4 GHz, 13-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $1,199 (US), includes:

* 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1280 x 800 glossy display;
* 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3MB shared L2 cache;
* 1066 MHz front-side bus;
* 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
* NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated graphics;
* 250GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
* a slot-load 8X SuperDrive® with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
* Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
* AirPort Extreme® 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* iSight® video camera;
* two USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire® 800 port (FireWire 400 compatible);
* SD card slot;
* combined headphone/line in (analog/digital);
* glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
* built-in, 63.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
* 60 Watt MagSafe® Power Adapter.

The 2.66 GHz, 13-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $1,499 (US), includes:

* 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1280 x 800 glossy display;
* 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3MB shared L2 cache;
* 1066 MHz front-side bus;
* 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
* NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated graphics;
* 320GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
* a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
* Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
* AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* iSight video camera;
* two USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port (FireWire 400 compatible);
* SD card slot;
* combined headphone/line in (analog/digital);
* glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
* built-in, 63.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
* 60 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

Build-to-order options for the 13-inch MacBook Pro include the ability to upgrade to 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, a 320GB 5400 rpm or a 500GB 5400 rpm hard drive, a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, Apple Remote, Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter and the AppleCare® Protection Plan.

The 2.4 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $1,799 (US), includes:

* 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440 x 900 glossy display;
* 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache;
* 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
* integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 256MB of VRAM;
* 320GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
* a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
* Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
* AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* iSight video camera;
* two USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port;
* SD card slot;
* audio line in (analog/digital);
* audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
* glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
* built-in, 77.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
* 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

The 2.53 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US), includes:

* 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440 x 900 glossy display;
* 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache;
* 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
* integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 256MB of VRAM;
* 500GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
* a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
* Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
* AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* iSight video camera;
* two USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port;
* SD card slot;
* audio line in (analog/digital);
* audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
* glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
* built-in, 77.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
* 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

The 2.66 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $2,199 (US), includes:

* 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440 x 900 glossy display;
* 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 with 4MB shared L3 cache;
* 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
* integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 512MB of VRAM;
* 500GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
* a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
* Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
* AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* iSight video camera;
* two USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port;
* SD card slot;
* audio line in (analog/digital);
* audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
* glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
* built-in, 77.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
* 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

Build-to-order options for the 15-inch MacBook Pro include the ability to upgrade to 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, a high resolution 15-inch 1680 x 1050 display in glossy and antiglare, a 500GB 5400 rpm or 500GB 7200 rpm hard drive, a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, Apple Remote, Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

The 2.53 GHz, 17-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $2,299 (US), includes:

* 17-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1920 x 1200, glossy display;
* 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache;
* 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
* integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 512MB of VRAM;
* 500GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
* a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
* Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
* AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* iSight video camera;
* three USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port (FireWire 400 compatible);
* ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
* audio line in (analog/digital);
* audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
* glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
* built-in, 95WHr lithium polymer battery; and
* 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

Build-to-order options for the 17-inch MacBook Pro include a 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 memory, a 500GB 7200 rpm hard drive, a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive, antiglare display, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual- Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, Apple Remote, Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

CUPERTINO, Calif., April 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Apple® today updated the MacBook® Pro line with faster processors, powerful next-generation NVIDIA graphics and even longer battery life. The popular 13-inch MacBook Pro features the new NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor for up to 80 percent faster graphics and a groundbreaking 10-hour built-in battery.* The new 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models feature Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and Apple’s new automatic graphics switching technology that toggles seamlessly between powerful NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and energy efficient Intel HD Graphics processors.

“The new MacBook Pro is as advanced on the inside as it is stunning on the outside,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With faster processors, amazing graphics and up to three more hours of battery life, the new MacBook Pro delivers both performance and efficiency.”

All 13-inch MacBook Pro models now include faster Intel Core 2 Duo processors, 4GB RAM, a 10-hour built-in battery and the new NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor. With 48 processing cores, the new NVIDIA GeForce 320M is the fastest integrated graphics processor on the market, ideal for graphics intensive applications or high performance games. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in two configurations: one with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 250GB hard drive priced at $1,199; and one with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 320GB hard drive priced at $1,499.

The new 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models are up to 50 percent faster than the previous systems.** Using Intel’s state-of-the-art 32 nanometer process, Intel Core i5 and i7 processors integrate the memory controller and Level 3 cache for faster access to system memory. Hyper-Threading technology improves data throughput by creating virtual processing cores, while Turbo Boost optimizes performance between the two processor cores, accelerating the system from 2.66 GHz to 3.06 GHz for intensive dual core tasks, and up to 3.33 GHz for single core tasks.

All 15-inch and 17-inch models include two graphics processors, the new NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M for peak performance and Intel HD Graphics for energy efficient operation. More than twice as fast as the GeForce 320M, the powerful new GeForce GT 330M provides incredibly smooth, crisp on-screen graphics for the most demanding 3D games, creative software and technical applications. Apple’s automatic graphics switching determines which graphics processor an application needs and switches instantly between processors to deliver peak performance and long battery life. Tightly integrated hardware and software allow the new 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro to deliver 8 to 9 hours on a single charge.
The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is available in three models: one with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and 320GB hard drive at $1,799; one with a 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and 500GB hard drive at $1,999; and one with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and 500GB hard drive at $2,199. The new 17-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and 500GB hard drive for $2,299.

The MacBook Pro glass Multi-Touch™ trackpad now supports inertial scrolling, an intuitive way to scroll through large photo libraries, lengthy documents and long web sites. All MacBook Pros feature bright, LED-backlit wide-angle displays with a broad color gamut. The 17-inch MacBook Pro includes a high resolution 1920 x 1200 display, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro is now available with an optional high resolution 1680 x 1050 display. Customers can also upgrade their MacBook Pro with new 128GB, 256GB and 512GB solid state drives.

As the industry’s greenest notebook lineup, every Mac® notebook achieves EPEAT Gold status and meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements, setting a new standard for environmentally friendly notebook design.*** Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed of recyclable materials.

Apple uses advanced chemistry, intelligent monitoring of the system and battery, and Adaptive Charging technology to create a notebook battery that delivers up to 10 hours of wireless productivity on a single charge and up to 1,000 recharges.**** The built-in battery design results in less waste and depleted batteries can be replaced for $129 or $179, which includes installation and disposal of your old battery in an environmentally responsible manner.
All Macs come with Mac OS® X Snow Leopard®, the world’s most advanced operating system, and iLife®, Apple’s innovative suite of applications for managing photos, making movies and creating and learning to play music. Snow Leopard builds on a decade of OS X innovation and success with hundreds of refinements, new core technologies and out of the box support for Microsoft Exchange. iLife features iPhoto®, to easily organize and manage photos; iMovie® with powerful easy-to-use new features such as Precision Editor, video stabilization and advanced drag and drop; and GarageBand® which introduces a whole new way to help you learn to play piano and guitar.

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