There were technical details that were inaccurate in the original reporting. This was due to an attempt to rush analysis, due to the importance of this issue. We've since provided corrections to the details in the original IronPeak blog. Moreover several media outlets have misattributed the research that went into the article. Niels is an industry consultant who provided impact analysis of the T2 and checkm8, but was incorrectly referred to as the researcher.
Naturally @axi0mX provided checkm8 allowing most of what follows to have been done.
The primary researchers responsible for T2/bridgeOS are @h0m3us3r, @mcmrarm, @aunali1 and Rick Mark(@su_rickmark). The group met each other via the GitHub issue (https://github.com/axi0mX/ipwndfu/issues/141) and learned they were interested in the topic broadly.
The T2 Team:
An EE student, newcomer to iOS prior to this project. Brute-forced the offsets in the T2 BootROM needed for checkm8 exploit. Started USB-C debug probe research and was first to SWD the T2 from a homemade probe. Currently works on a retail version of USB-C debug probe.
CS/Neuroscience pre-med student. Involved with T2/Linux drivers and support and current maintainer prior to T2 exploitation. Analyzed Apple hardware designs to determine points of infiltration. Developed toolchain/SDK for bridgeOS and SSH from host macOS using NCM interface. Created keylogger PoC and zero-click DFU PoC. Currently completing hardware design of retail USB-C debug probe.
Computer Engineering student with an interest in reverse engineering. Helped in getting Linux running on T2 Macs by reverse engineering important T2 Mac OS drivers and communication protocols, later implementing them for Linux. Helped with the T2 BootROM bruteforce. Reverse engineered parts of T2 boot chain, kernel and user-space for how they are designed and in search of attack vectors.
History as an internal security engineer at tech companies. In this role his assessment of the workstations, phones and other systems was a key concern. He worked generally on macOS integrity, EFI and idevicerestore concerns.
The checkra1n Team:
The checkra1n team did substantive work in creating a full jailbreak from the checkm8 flaw. It was the similarity of bridgeOS and iOS that allowed the T2 version of checkm8 to be rapidly included and supported. Much of the further work is due to this framework and the jail-breaking community at large. It was after the T2 checkm8 work that the T2 team was added to checkra1n and credited.
Timeline of Events
Oct 27, 2017 - rickmark creates a utility to verify the integrity of T1 and prior Macs - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1280590602690637824?s=20
Aug 13, 2018 - aunali1 begins inquiry regarding Linux support for Apple portables with the T2 chip. Subsequently begins research into T2 firmware payload. - https://github.com/Dunedan/mbp-2016-linux/issues/71.
Jun 29, 2019 - mrarm begins investigating support for the T2 attached NVMe drive within Linux. - https://github.com/Dunedan/mbp-2016-linux/issues/71#issuecomment-506987345
Jul 1, 2019 - mrarm completes PoC Linux driver support for T2 attached NVMe drive. - https://github.com/Dunedan/mbp-2016-linux/issues/71#issuecomment-507325112
Jul 3, 2019 - mram begins investigating and reverse engineering the Apple BCE driver for supporting communication with the T2 on Linux and associated USB VHCI interface for supporting attached peripherals. - https://github.com/Dunedan/mbp-2016-linux/issues/71#issuecomment-508199545
Aug 4, 2019 - aunali1 packages up Linux kernel patches and mrarm’s drivers into installable Arch packages for distribution. Becomes current maintainer of patchset and driver code. - https://github.com/Dunedan/mbp-2016-linux/issues/71#issuecomment-517976727
Oct 6, 2019 - rickmark postulates the impact of checkm8 for the T2 and proposes that ipwndfu is extended to support it: https://github.com/axi0mX/ipwndfu/issues/141
Nov 9, 2019 - rickmark begins research into bridgeOS - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1193396044752547840?s=20
Nov 17, 2019 - mrarm ports SMC Linux driver to support ACPI addressed T2 controller. - https://github.com/Dunedan/mbp-2016-linux/issues/71#issuecomment-554794307
Nov 22, 2019 - aunali1 and mrarm begin collaborating on investigating T2’s SEP and overall security model for further supporting biometrics on Linux.
Dec 3, 2019 - rickmark creates patches to libimobiledevice allowing the T2 to be restored outside of Apple Configurator and research to proceed - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1202129990545887233?s=21
Dec 15, 2019 - team using version data from SecureROM, it is considered likely that the T2 should be vulnerable: https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1206292115795271680?s=21
Jan 14, 2020 - rickmark performs analysis of USB Target Disk mode which can later be used to transfer data to and from the disk of an attached Mac - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1217347628536492032?s=21
Feb 28, 2020 - rickmark postulates the security impact of the USB-C cable (power delivery pins) and how Apple factory cables can use these to affect a device - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1233478919463960576?s=21
Mar 6, 2020 - First successful dump of SecureROM of the T2 performed, accepted as proof of the first to execute code on the device - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1260456712898740224?s=20
Mar 7, 2020 - h0m3us3r publishes fork of checkm8/ipwndfu with T2 support - https://github.com/h0m3us3r/ipwndfu/commit/4d7932a285ec04a1499694ed58be8d4f975d6dfe
Mar 10, 2020 - qwertyoriop uses that branch to add support for T2 into checkra1n - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1237414287372500993?s=21
Mar 10, 2020 - rickmark assesses how this situation cannot be mitigated - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1237419421913604096?s=21
Mar 11, 2020 - German coverage of the T2 jailbreak - https://tweakers.net/nieuws/164492/hacker-omzeilt-beveiliging-t2-chip-in-recente-mac-computers.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
Mar 18, 2020 - Dutch coverage of the T2 jailbreak - https://tweakers.net/nieuws/164492/hacker-omzeilt-beveiliging-t2-chip-in-recente-mac-computers.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
Mar 18, 2020 - First English press of the T2 jailbreak - https://www.idownloadblog.com/2020/03/18/checkra1n-experimental-pre-release-adds-preliminary-support-for-ios-13-4-mac-t2-chip/
Mar 20, 2020 - rickmark assesses the impact of the T2 jailbreak on security of Apple Mac’s - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1240532838555856897?s=21
Mar 22, 2020 - rickmark creates first writeup and analysis of the T2 impact created and circulated in industry and on Reddit - https://paper.dropbox.com/doc/OUCHbar--A9CuZXZu3CBHYb2MzShFKQ2BAQ-OSBDo3SOCEetgQy3cGZqx
Mar 26, 2020 - rickmark highlights dangers of setting persistence in the T2 synthetic NVRAM (nvram.plist) - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1243392084171558921?s=21
May 7, 2020 - rickmark uses checkra1n to jailbreak a 2020 Mac Pro - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1258424888160735234?s=20
Jun 22, 2020 - rickmark and libimobiledevice add support for iOS 14 which makes use of Signed System Volumes - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1275210160286265345?s=20
Jul 7, 2020 - h0m3us3r successfully connects to the debug interface of the T2 (ARM Single Wire Debug) - https://twitter.com/h0m3us3r/status/1280432544731860993?s=21
Jul 7, 2020 - rickmark comments that Intel debug is exposed as well - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1280590602690637824?s=20
Jul 24, 2020 - aunali1 completes PoC bridgeOS SDK and compiles a benchmarking utility which provides first speed testand specifications of the T2 - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1286886010681462784
Jul 24, 2020 - Pangu releases blackbird an un-patchable Secure Enclave Processor flaw similar to checkm8 - https://www.idownloadblog.com/2020/07/24/pangu-hacks-sep/
Aug 25, 2020 - rickmark postulates that macOS Big Sur will be installed over USB just like bridgeOS and that Signed System Volumes will reduce persistent jailbreaks on the T2 - https://twitter.com/su_rickmark/status/1298512629040910336?s=20
Sep 21, 2020 - Checkra1n 0.11.0 with T2/bridgeOS support released - https://checkra.in
Sep 30, 2020 - News article covering checkra1n 0.11.0 released - https://reportcybercrime.com/hackers-jailbreak-apples-t2-security-chip-powered-by-bridgeos/
Sep 30, 2020 - Article above discussed in industry Slack instance (of which Neils is a member), rickmark solicits questions, and answers those and others in Slack - +Industry: bridgeOS / checkra1n Questions
Oct 5, 2020 - A security consultant uses available information to assess the impact of checkra1n and the T2 - https://ironpeak.be/blog/crouching-t2-hidden-danger/
Oct 5, 2020 - Corrections of accuracy compiled and sent to Neils - https://paper.dropbox.com/pad-desktop-redirect?relativePadUrl=%2Fdoc%2FNOTES-Crouching-T2-Hidden-Danger--A9D8yBay8_W2AWSvNn3ifN9fAg-5Fv29pghexoM9jT3KV38m
Oct 5, 2020 - rickmark publishes a blog with a more accurate T2 analysis - https://blog.rickmark.me/checkra1n-and-the-t2/