Intel Boot Guard

Intel Boot Guard

As defined by Wikipedia: “Intel Boot Guard is a processor feature that prevents the computer from running firmware images not released by the system manufacturer. When turned on, the processors verifies a signature contained in the firmware image before executing it, using the hash of the public half of the signing key, which is fused into the system’s Platform Controller Hub (PCH) by the system manufacturer (not by Intel). Intel Boot Guard is an optional processor feature, meaning that it does not need to be activated during the system manufacturing. As a result, Intel Boot Guard, when activated, makes it impossible for end users to install replacement firmware such as Coreboot.

Boot Guard attempts to protect the system before Secure Boot starts. Boot Guard is a big new player in the security -vs- user-control equation. To conserve words, I’ll just point to a few other blog posts on this topic by others:

http://patrick.georgi-clan.de/2015/02/17/intel-boot-guard/
https://hacked.com/quick-hack-bios-passwords-computer/
https://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/33981.html
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9135767
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2883903/how-intel-and-pc-makers-prevent-you-from-modiying-your-pcs-firmware.html

Security must be addressed, but the cost might be General Purpose Computing?

http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/lockdown.html
http://readwrite.com/2012/01/13/the-four-horsemen-of-the-gener
https://github.com/jwise/28c3-doctorow/blob/master/transcript.md

I hope Intel — or other chip vendors — can help both audiences, not only enterprise vendors who want to use the OEM’s installation of Windows and never change their systems. The locally-present user should be able to override features like this, and install what they want, at firmware, pre-OS and OS-level software. Some systems may need to be tamper-resistant to local users, but that’s just for enterprise bank employees, not for citizens. Intel: please give us more control over the products we purchase.

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