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I just got my self a used MacBook Pro 2020 with the T2 Chip. I’m wondering how secure is it to use the Mac. I heard about a security breach in the t2 Chip what means there could be malware on the chip. Does that malware get removed by updating the macOS / reinstalling macOS ? What steps should I 100% do before using it ? Should I reinstall bridgeos? Would be interesting to know.

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  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 21:55
  • The question is: how likely is it that the seller has infected the T2 chip on this Mac, as a means of doing something malicious? Selling infected laptops is a high-cost, low-yield strategy for badness.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 7:38

1 Answer 1

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I had to read up on it, but I found this article in Wired magazine with this key quote:

There are a few important limitations of the jailbreak, though, that keep this from being a full-blown security crisis. The first is that an attacker would need physical access to target devices in order to exploit them. The tool can only run off of another device over USB. This means hackers can't remotely mass-infect every Mac that has a T2 chip. An attacker could jailbreak a target device and then disappear, but the compromise isn't "persistent"; it ends when the T2 chip is rebooted.

Thus, it doesn't expose you to malware on the web. Somebody would need to plug a device into the USB port on your Mac in order to exploit it. So as long as you keep your Mac physically secure you should be okay.

Apparently the T2 chip isn't always rebooted when the Mac is rebooted. I'm not sure if a full power-down powers down the T2 or not; I would think so, but would want to research it.

Somebody needs to come up with a utility that lets you check the status of the software running on your T2 chip to make sure it hasn't been compromised. (Of course that utility could be a vector for infection, so you'd have to have a good chain of trust for that utility.)

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  • Now, if I understand it correctly, the person I bought the Mac from would not have been able to install malware on the t2 chip, it would need a USB stick plugged in to run? I read somewhere that people are able to read and write code on the t2 chip it self which gives them the ability to infect your system no matter how often you reinstall the os
    – N0nq
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 5:59
  • the person you bought it from could have installed malware on the T2 chip if they new what they were doing since they had physical access. You only need to have something plugged into USB to infect it, and then until the next time the T2 chip is restarted it will be infected.
    – Duncan C
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 12:02
  • So if I would restart the t2 Chip I’m safe? How to restart the t2 Chip too? Aren’t people able to write stuff on the chip it self or does that only last until the restart ?
    – N0nq
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 13:51
  • From the article I linked in my answer, malware installed on the T2 chip only persists until the chip is restarted. The article goes on to say that it isn't certain that the T2 chip gets restarted when you restart your Mac. I'd suggest fully discharging your battery and letting the machine completely die. That should force everything to shut down. (I don't know if a normal power-down also powers down the T2 chip.)
    – Duncan C
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 14:22
  • In the article they also say they suggest resetting the chip to factory state/default settings. Any ideas how todo so ?
    – N0nq
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 15:13

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