Passware, a company that legally sells software and hardware password cracking tools, announced the development of a tool for cracking Mac computers equipped with the Apple T2 security chip. Previously, it was believed that these computers have very reliable protection, but the developers were able to find a vulnerability in this chip and create a tool to exploit it.
Apple introduced the T2 security chip for Macs in 2018 and has been using it to securely boot Intel-based Macs ever since. What makes T2 special is that it includes an SSD controller and an encryption engine that allows it to instantly encrypt and decrypt data in real-time.
Passware previously had tools to crack passwords and decrypt drives protected by legacy FileVault encryption on Macs without a T2 chip. At the same time, a graphics accelerator was used, which made it possible to check tens of thousands of passwords per second. Until recently, however, the method of guessing passwords by searching all possible combinations was impractical on Mac computers with a T2 chip. This is because the password is not stored on the SSD and the chip limits the number of possible attempts to enter it. Therefore, it is necessary to choose not a password but a decryption key, which theoretically can take millions of years.
Now, however, Passware offers a tool that allows you to bypass brute-force protection and enter a password an unlimited number of times on a Mac with a T2 chip. A hacker can use a password dictionary. Passware itself offers dictionaries of the 550,000 most common passwords collected from various data breaches, as well as a larger one containing 10 billion passwords. However, the recruitment process is still slower than usual. The speed reaches 15 passwords per second. In theory, guessing the right combination could take thousands of years, but most people use relatively short and simple passwords. A combination of six characters can be cracked in about 10 hours.
Passware says that the T2 Mac Hacking Module is only available to government customers and private businesses who can show a good reason for using it. It is important to note that in order to be hacked, the hacker must have physical access to the target computer. And if the password is a bunch of random characters, finding it, even with auto-enumeration, is extremely problematic.