Apple’s T2 Security Chip Can Prevent Microphone Eavesdropping

Apple’s T2 security chip has been added to the new MacBook Air. It’s also in newer MacBook Pro models. And it can stop malicious parties from eavesdropping on your microphone when the lid is closed (via TechCrunch).

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T2 Security Chip

The T2 security chip holds the MacBook’s encryption keys, fingerprint data, and has secure boot features. It also controls the ambient sensor, the system management controller (SMC), image signal processor, Apple video encoder, audio controller, and enables “Hey Siri.”

Presenter explaining the T2 security chip on stage.

And according to Apple’s new security guide [PDF] it automatically disconnects the microphone when you close the MacBook’s lid.

All Mac portables with the Apple T2 Security Chip feature a hardware disconnect that ensures that the microphone is disabled whenever the lid 
is closed. 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 chip, from engaging the microphone when the lid is closed.

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One thought on “Apple’s T2 Security Chip Can Prevent Microphone Eavesdropping

  • Nice! This is awesome news and very glad to hear it. Makes me appreciate the T2 chip more. Now Apple just needs to find a way to do the same thing when you are using the MacBook without the microphone needed and that way include desktops. If they can physically disconnect it when you are not using it, then there is no more NSA/CIA easy listening going on. The agencies would have to go a different route.

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