Derbycon/Defcon: battery firmware hacking

We use laptops everyday and as long as the battery isn’t dead we probably don’t give it much thought. It turns out that most laptop batteries contain a smart chip which controls battery charge rate and ensures safety parameters are observed among other purposes.

In this video from the recently concluded Derbycon conference in Louisville, KY, software hacker Charlie Miller delves into the hardware and software he examined researching an Apple laptop battery. The talk includes references to code downloads which allow access to the battery communications API and techniques for hacking the firmware to possibly extend you battery’s warranty. Interesting talk on a subject you probably never thought about. (Audio clears up at around 10:00.)

You can download the code and other materials referenced in this talk from the Accuvant labs website.

This talk was also presented at Defcon 19. You can view the Defcon version here.

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