Skip to main content

Apple Adds Physical Security Feature To New MacBook

By November 13, 2018June 2nd, 2022Cybersecurity

In recent months, hackers around the world have been finding new ways to invade people’s privacy, hijacking an increasing number of cameras and microphones attached to smartphones and PCs.  Apple is responding to the evolving threat by introducing a new layer of physical security to their latest MacBooks.

The company has created a custom security chip which introduces a means of physically disconnecting the PC’s built-in microphone any time the user closes the lid on the machine.

As the company explains:

“This disconnect is implemented in hardware alone, and therefore prevents any software, even with root or kernel privileges in macOS, and even the software on the T2 (security) chip, from engaging the microphone when the lid is closed.”

It’s a good move that helps at the margins, but it’s far from being a comprehensive solution.  After all, you’re still vulnerable while you’re working, reading, or watching something on your computer, but it is an undeniably good first step.

The new security chip does far more than merely serving as a means to disable the built-in microphone, however.  It provides a host of new security enhancements that, when combined with the macBook’s Touch ID system, makes the PC more secure than it ever has been.

On top of that, the T2 chip provides a number of non-security features as well, including:

  • Auto balancing the FaceTime HD camera
  • Enhancing the Apple video encoder and audio controller
  • Controls the ambient sensor and the system management controller (SMC)
  • Acts as an image processer that enables enhanced tone mapping

In short then, it’s a good addition that’s destined to make an already great computer even better.  Unfortunately, it’s just a matter of time before the hackers figure out ways around most, if not all the new enhanced security features. Then the arms race will continue to its next phase.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.