Inside every Mac — the one I’m writing this one, the one you’re reading this on, the one next to you at the cafe — is a little chip called the SMC, or system management controller. If you’ve ever had a problem related to your Mac’s performance or power supply, resetting the SMC is usually the first thing people suggest.
For most of us, worrying about the ‘security’ of our SMC is pretty harmless. While your SMC can be hacked, it’s a Mission Impossible style process that is only really likely to occur if you’re so important that the techno-elite of another country’s government decides they want to know what’s on your laptop.
Here’s where it gets funny, though. Let’s say China did want to hack your Mac’s SMC… how might they start? By entering the name of a Harry Potter spell!
According to a fascinating write-up by Dan Goodin over at Ars Technica, ever Mac SMC has secret settings that can be accessed by entering the word “SpecialisRevelio.”
If you’ve read the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling, those words might seem familiar: it’s the name of a spell that reveals hidden charms and hexes.
It’s nothing for you to worry about. Any Harry Potter style attacker would have to have physical access to your Mac, and an incredible degree of sophisticated computer knowledge to compromise your machine through your SMC. Besides, you can always thwart an attack by pulling out your wand and shouting “Expelliarmus!” at your Mac during boot-up to neutralize the attack.
Source: Ars Technica