Ticket #19263: Steps to hack a VirtualBox BIOS

There’s a new VirtualBox bug report, about ability of attacker to replace the Vbox firmware. The bug report had a link to a zipped DOCX file. It appears, from Oracle’s response, that they consider firmware root-of-trust a future enhancement, not a current bug. Virtualized firmware is interesting for attackers with OS root access: in that the firmware is more accessable, it is merely files on a disk, instead of flash-based, not just the files on the ESP.

This issue was initially reported to the security team, but after some discussion it was mentioned that I should open this in the public bug tracking system (seems strange to me, but…). Just for reference, follow the final conclusion from the security team:

“Admin rights give a user the power to do anything on the system. An “evil admin” is more a social component of this bug than a product’s security abilities (or its lack thereof). However, we get your point and think that the “validation/check” proposed by you may be an enhancement feature in the product. Since our team (SecAlert) only deals with security vulnerabilities in the product, we will not be able to help you on this further. You could log an enhancement request on VirtualBox’s public bug tracker: https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Bugtracker



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