Apple T2 security chip on new Macbook prevents software from using the mic to eavesdrop
Apple MacBook is equipped with a new T2 security chip, which uses a hard-breaking design, can automatically disable the microphone when necessary – such as closing the laptop screen. It is reported that the Apple T2 security chip is bundled with the Secure Enclave security zone coprocessor, which is designed to support MacOS’s Apple File System (APFS) encrypted storage, Touch ID, secure boot and more.
In addition, the chip has a number of controllers that integrate management functions for the system, SSD, audio, and image signal processors. As described in the Apple T2 Chip Security Overview document published in October 2018:
“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.”
As a result, when the MacBook is closed, even users running with the kernel or root privileges cannot eavesdrop on users. The webcam won’t be disconnected from the hardware when the screen is closed. Apple said: “The camera is not disconnected in hardware because its field of view is completely obstructed with the lid closed.” This hardware-based protection makes it extremely difficult for malicious attackers to eavesdrop.