They’ve added a 2-day training course on BIOS/SMM, “Advanced x86: Introduction to BIOS & SMM”! The BIOS researchers at MITRE — and half of them now at LebaCore — are one of the main pioneers of BIOS research, and this is one of ther main training sessions. Wow!
“Around 2011, the trustworthy system measurement research project that Xeno Kovah was running at MITRE decided to start digging deeper than the Windows kernel and rootkit detection, to try and detect malicious software at the BIOS level. Xeno & Corey Kallenberg continued to work on Kernel, while team member John Butterworth was tasked with starting to learn about BIOS in parallel. John’s work led to the “BIOS Chronomancy” work (published at both BlackHat and ACM CCS), porting the team’s existing Timing-Based Attestation system from the kernel level down to the BIOS. Xeno then asked John to start making an open source training class to capture his knowledge, the same way that Xeno & Corey had captured their past knowledge on the project and uploaded it to OST. John created a 2 day Intro BIOS class and got it public released from MITRE. The intention originally was that it would cover all basics of BIOS which would be applicable to both legacy BIOS, CoreBoot, or UEFI-based systems. And then it was expected there would be a follow on class digging deeper into the specifics of UEFI. Unfortunately time prohibited the creation of that 2nd 2 days of classes focusing on UEFI, so you can see that some minimal UEFI content was eventually shoehorned into this class, though frequently there isn’t enough time to get to it within 2 days. It is our hope that this Introductory BIOS & SMM class will help demystify how x86 systems work at the low levels, so that people can better understand the BIOS/SMM/SecureBoot vulnerabilities described in the team’s work while at MITRE, and later after Xeno & Corey founded LegbaCore. With this knowledge in hand, hopefully students can fully appreciate and explain to others why it is so critical that BIOS patch management be performed by organizations, to eliminate the vulnerabilities that lurk at this level.