The one serious MacBook Pro security flaw that nobody is talking about

“One of Han Solo’s trademark lines was ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this.’ Ever since I started thinking about getting the 2018 i9-based, 32GB MacBook Pro, I’ve been having a bad feeling, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was,” David Gewirtz writes for ZDNet. “Then, last night, as I plugged my current MacBook Pro into its snuggly MagSafe 2 power connector, I thought, ‘I’m going to miss the convenience of this.’ And then it came to me.”

“It’s the USB-C ports. Because of the USB-C ports, all MacBook Pros introduced since late 2016 are inherently unsafe,” Gewirtz write. “Likewise, all of the 12-inch MacBooks introduced since 2015 are inherently unsafe.”

“With the MacBook from 2015 on, and for the MacBook Pros from 2016 on, the only way you can charge the notebook is by connecting to a USB-C port. That’s right. In order to charge the machine, you must connect to a port capable of transferring data. You have no choice,” Gewirtz write. “For Apple, a company whose enhanced security has been one of its main selling points for years, this is a short-sighted, potentially brand-damaging, and dangerous decision.”

“Last year, I wrote about how USB chargers are available that not only charge devices, but spy on you. Spying isn’t the only problem. Many of the fake brand name or inexpensive aftermarket chargers are unsafe as well. Such chargers can cause shocks or even fires,” Gewirtz write. “This is such an ongoing problem (even with Lightning cables) that Apple has a page dedicated to explaining how to identify counterfeit chargers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you’re worried about this or work in a security-sensitive position, Gewirtz offers some sound advice: Buy your spare or replacement power adapters directly from Apple. For your iPhones and iPads, too, not just MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

As for the convenience of MagSafe, try something like ELECJET’s MagJet Magnetic USB-C Cable for MacBook Pro.

17 Comments

      1. Hesus C. Jhrist, leave poor John Dongler, artiste, alone! He’s a busy man, dongling here, dangling there and dingaling every time his phone rings.

        Please, it’s time to stop. It’s just not as donglerific as you think.

  1. I’d have thought again about buying my 2018 MBP, if I had researched more carefully about the lack of ports.

    It’s a pain, let alone being able to plug in a legacy Cinema Display – and today Apple doesn’t MAKE one!

      1. Yes, OR not plugging their devices into random crap. 🙂

        The ones that are… well, it they could read or talk in the first place, they would have known not to do it 😉

  2. I must be missing something… So with a magsafe, that was power only. But those Macs ALSO had ports… So someone could power up the MacBook with a magsafe, and – fear and dread – plug something else into one of the USB, FireWire, etc… data ports!!! Oh no!

    Again, I’m not huge into how putting it into one port is a massive breach. Haven’t heard of anyone getting hacked as a result of this either…

    1. How many times do we have to refute FUD like this? I can’t believe that MDN let it slip by without a comment, either!

      If the MagSafe functionality is as important to you as it is to David Gewirtz, then you don’t whine like a puppy – you do something about it. Thirty seconds of searching would have shown Mr. Gewirtz that there are MagSafe versions of USB-C cables for this very purpose. Sure, Apple could have included this design in the box (as I recommended years ago), but they chose to leave it up to third parties.

      There you go. Problem solved. Find something to write about that actually merits the dramatic hyperbole. Unsafe, I say!!

    2. Just to be clear – I am not dissing you, Bobby. I agree with your MagSafe comments.

      I am totally dissing David Gewirtz because he is pitching FUD on ZDNet to make a little scratch, and that irritates me. Find something meaningful about which to write, Gewirtz!

  3. This is really ONLY a concern if you plug your cable into a USB port to charge your device instead of plugging it into an Apple charging cube.

    On the road (especially in airplanes) I plug a battery into the USB port available then plug my phone and/or laptop into the USB output of the battery pack.

    The true bottom line is *NEVER* charge your device directly from a third party USB port of any kind. Those nice USB Type-A ports at coffee shops and airports and on airplanes? NEVER connect directly to them.

  4. — Only the Shadow Knows —

    Great comment, now with power going into data ports … and we don’t want data to be “leaking” back out due to subterfuge on the part of the power supplier.

    I can say I honestly didn’t think of this, but I’m not using a “new” MBPro yet.

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