Researchers have claimed that "chip-level threats" pose a potential problem for Intel-powered Mac systems.
A chip-level attack targets a feature or vulnerability in the processor rather than attacking software as is the case with nearly all today's security threats.
Examples of chip-level attacks are rare. The last known serious outbreak dates back to 1998, when the CIH/Chernobyl virus embedded itself into the flash-BIOS of infected systems.
Security vendor McAfee said in a recent white paper about security challenges for Apple systems that chip-level threats are a potential problem now that Apple has switched to Intel chips. But the firm admitted that there are no examples of such attacks.
The cautionary white paper was published on the same day that McAfee launched a version of its security software for Intel-based systems.
Critics could use this fact to point out that the security firm was trying to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about Mac security in an effort to advertise its software. McAfee did not return several requests for comment.
The threat of chip-level attacks is theoretical at this stage, according to security researchers.
Bruce Huges, a senior antivirus researcher at Trend Micro, believes that chip-level attacks are too hard to craft.
"[Attackers] going after the chip is not something that we see as a great threat right now," he told vnunet.com.
"Whenever you go the Bios or chipset level, it is very easy to ruin things so that the computer will not boot.
"[Attackers] want to use your computer to steal credit card information and install spyware or adware. The last thing that they want to do is destroy your computer."
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