New research shows that Apple has a cunning plan to combat piracy of its operating system - encrypted binaries.

Google researcher Amit Singh, has published his findings which show that Apple has encrypted "critical parts" of OS X at system level.

The effect is to make it hard to pirate the operating system, and to make it a massive challenge to force the system to run on any computer, other than a Mac.

Despite the open source nature of much of Mac OS X, its Finder, Dock, parts of Rosetta and elements of the user interface are all described as protected in this way.

"When any binary is called upon by the system, the kernel checks to see if it is Apple-protected; if it is, the kernel unencrypts the code through an "unprotect" operation," reports Fox News.

Singh's well-qualified to uncover such system set-ups - in the past he has visited Apple's Cupertino headquarters to speak to the US National Security Agency about Mac OS X.