I received a brand new Mac laptop for work that is basically ours and doesn’t have to be returned, even after quitting. It was inside the box and sealed. I was wondering if Apple supplies and installs hardware keyloggers. The Apple manafacturers are the only ones with physical contact with the laptop. Is that possible? Otherwise, I know about DEP (Device Enrolment Program).

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  • What does DEP have to do with keyloggers? – Polynomial Mar 17 at 19:35
  • Wouldn’t that be another one to install a keylogger, a software based one? – Curiousindividual Mar 17 at 19:43
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    DEP is an exploit mitigation based on a CPU feature (NX or XD) that prevents non-executable memory pages from being executed. It has zero bearing on keyloggers. – Polynomial Mar 17 at 19:50
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    I'm curious why you're specifically concerned about hardware keyloggers. Do you have a reason why you're not worried about software or firmware keyloggers? – Mike Ounsworth Mar 17 at 20:00
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    Ah, you mean Apple Device Enrolment Program. Nobody except Apple calls that DEP, hence the confusion. You're better off calling it ADEP to avoid the name clash. – Polynomial Mar 17 at 20:45

There is no evidence that Apple has ever installed a hardware keylogger into any of their products. I can find no reference to such a feature or option existing or being advertised, either for consumer or commercial purposes. Further, it seems highly unlikely that a hardware vendor would embark on such an ethically questionable course of action against their own products and customers; it would reflect exceedingly poorly upon them.

This is not to say that a company could not have installed keylogging software after they received the laptop. However, I find it hard to believe that they would install a hardware keylogger - for a start, modern MacBooks are difficult to disassemble without damage. In this situation, formatting the disk and re-installing the OS should be sufficient to ensure that the device is clean.

DEP is a confusing acronym here; I suggest against using it as for 99% of cases it refers to Data Execution Prevention, which is an exploit mitigation in most operating systems. I'll assume that you're referring too Apple Device Enrolment Program.

ADEP is a mobile device management (MDM) solution. Organisations can indeed use it to deploy any software they like to their devices. If you re-install the operating system, however, the ADEP settings and deployed software packages are not carried over and the enrolment stops working for that device.

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