July 26, 2011

The Attack Coolness Factor

Blackhat conference is around the corner and we're beginning to receive glimpses of upcoming talks. One of the presentations will show attendees how to manipulate a Mac battery in order to install malware. Cool? Yeah! Sophisticated? Absolutely! Practical? Not really...

Our own ADC member, Tal Be'ery, provides his thoughts...

No matter how obscure and fun an attack sounds, we need to focus on the real threats. Although it's an original vulnerability that reflects the deep security knowledge of the researcher, we do not expect to see too much of it (or any) in the wild as it...

1. Requires physical access to the battery.

2. Makes no sense economically - Why would hackers invest time and money in the R&D of a new tool that would cost 130$ per deployment (the cost of a battery), would only be relevant for a selected group (specific battery model of apple laptops), and would require physical access when the hacker could infect millions of machines using OS exploits and social engineering with a low cost per infection - without even getting up from the couch?

With that said, if a possible target of an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attack (such as highly sensitive state infrastructures) is using such a vulnerable device - they may need to evaluate its use until a patch is released.

So the general public should not worry about this super cool attack, but instead invest time and resources in protection from the usual threats by installing Antivirus software and maintaining awareness of social engineering attacks.

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