Macbook Air Has Some Key, Unexpected Security Features

By Ryan Naraine  |  Posted 2008-02-27 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The sleek new MacBook Air is one firmware upgrade away from being the only mainstream laptop that is resistant to the cold-boot encryption attacks.

One of the most hated things on Apple's new MacBook Air laptops—the fact that it's impossible to upgrade the laptop's RAM—could accidentally turn out to be quite a useful security feature.

In fact, according to Ivan Krstic, director of security architecture at OLPC (One Laptop per Child), the sleek new MacBook Air is one firmware upgrade away from being the only mainstream laptop that is resistant to the cold-boot encryption attack discussed recently by researchers at Princeton University and the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation).

The research report, released Feb. 21, calls attention to a design limitation in several widely used disk encryption technologies that could allow practical attacks against laptops in "sleep" or "hibernation" mode. It affects Microsoft's BitLocker (Windows Vista), Apple's FileVault (Mac OS X) and TrueCrypt and dm-crypt (Linux).

The research team found that in most computers, RAM contents will persist from several seconds to a minute even at room temperature and that cheap refrigerants like canned air spray dusters can be used to produce temperatures cold enough to make RAM contents last for a long time even when the memory chips are physically removed from the computer.

Read the full article at eWEEK.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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