T2 Chip
Via Apple

Apple keeps breaking the boundaries of technology. With its latest line of MacBooks, Apple has come up with something that was missing for a long time; security. Apple’s T2 microchip will be greatly appreciated by users as it will prevent eavesdropping.
The T2 security chip will be equipped in the previously announced MacBook Pro and the recently announced MacBook Air. T2 will be a hacker’s worst nightmare. The chip will protect users’ fingerprint data, hard disk data, secure booting and encryption keys.
Apple released a security overview of the T2 chip to explain its features in more detail. Nothing was previously known about the security chip. The biggest feature of this chip is its ability to cut off the microphone when the lid is closed.
The chip physically cuts the microphone’s source, to prevent any accidental audio leaks. Other than the security features, the chip has controllers similar to ones found in other Mac devices. Some of which are audio controller, system management controller, SSD controller, and system management, controller.

The security guide read, “The T2 chip is the hardware root of trust for secure boot. Secure boot ensures that the lowest levels of software aren’t tampered with and that only trusted operating system software loads at startup.”

Since the chip engages with Mac’s internal hardware, any kind of software, even if it has root or kernel level access in macOS cannot counter the microphone cut off. Even the software on the T2 chip cannot prevent the microphone from disconnecting when the lid is closed.
This is just one of the many decisions Apple has strategically made to fight for their customers’ privacy.
The webcam isn’t disconnected because when the lid is closed, the camera’s field of view gets obstructed anyways.

Apple’s last chipset, the T1 only encrypted fingerprint data used with the TouchID. T2 is a massive upgrade. Let’s face it, with each passing day our privacy and security is becoming more and more at risk. There are lots of interested parties who want to squeeze every byte of our personal data.

It is common knowledge that we are being spied through our webcams by hackers, security agencies and possibly even by advertisers. For this reason, many users started covering their webcams with sticky notes.
Even Mark Zuckerburg is known to cover his Macbook’s webcam using a sticky note. Even Black Mirror made an episode where a group of hackers hack into a teen’s webcam to record his activity and blackmail him later.
All of this was due to the fact that hackers remotely spied on users through Remote Administration Tools. Now since MacBooks have a light next to the webcam, users felt more secure using their devices, as the light would turn on informing users their webcam is active.
Also read: iPad Pro 2018 steals the show
However, according to security reports, MacBooks could still be hacked. So it seems we have to stick with the age-old method of using sticky notes to prevent monitoring, for now at least. Now obviously microphones cannot be handled in this way. There was a need for some out of the box thinking. And boy did Apple deliver.
Due to these concerns, it was necessary to make a piece of hardware that was resistant to malware and remote hacking. This is why T2 chip will be an example for other laptop manufacturers to follow.

Avatar for Fazeel Ashraf

IT graduate from Pakistan’s National University of Science and Technology with a passion for writing. When not reading or writing, I can be found listening to rock and metal or playing some classic jams on my electric guitar. I’m also a big fan of horror movies.

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