Uncategorized

AMI on Intel’s BIOS end-of-life announcement

 

https://ami.com/en/tech-blog/intel-says-bye-to-bios-by-2020/

http://www.uefi.org/sites/default/files/resources/Brian_Richardson_Intel_Final.pdf

 

The UEFI Forum likes to frame UEFI -vs- BIOS, and has a 3-5 Class heirarchy of those systems, including having to deal with UEFI systems that also provide BIOS via Compatibility Support Module (CSM), referring to BIOS as Legacy Mode. If you look at BIOS outside of the framing of the UEFI Forum, it is usually based security, and UEFI has some security where BIOS has none. But there’s another ‘class’: non-UEFI coreboot, optionally secured with Verified Boot, with a BIOS payload. UEFI Forum doesn’t include this in their Class heirarchy… AFAICT, the mainstream IBVs have given up on BIOS and migrated to UEFI. The only places where BIOS will probably remain are in Purism boxes, where they will use TPM+Heads to secure BIOS, or on Chrome boxes, where they will use coreboot Verified Boot to secure BIOS, or in SeaBIOS-based VMs. When Intel stops offering Intel’s implementation of BIOS, maybe this means that the remaining BIOS users will switch to the open source SeaBIOS project, which is great news. Getting rid of the complex class of dual UEFI/BIOS systems will be a joy. 🙂

Standard
Uncategorized

Kaspersky 2018 Threat Predictions: Sophisticated UEFI and BIOS attacks

Kaspersky Security Bulletin: Threat Predictions for 2018
Juan Andrés Guerrero-Saade, Costin Raiu, Kurt Baumgartner
[…]
Sophisticated UEFI and BIOS attacks.
The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is a software interface which serves as the intermediary between the firmware and the operating system on modern PCs. Established in 2005 by an alliance of leading software and hardware developers, Intel most notable amongst them, it’s now quickly superseding the legacy BIOS standard. This was achieved thanks to a number of advanced features that BIOS lacks: for example, the ability to install and run executables, networking and Internet capabilities, cryptography, CPU-independent architecture and drivers, etc. The very advanced capabilities that make UEFI such an attractive platform also open the way to new vulnerabilities that didn’t exist in the age of the more rigid BIOS. For example, the ability to run custom executable modules makes it possible to create malware that would be launched by UEFI directly before any anti-malware solution – or, indeed, the OS itself – had a chance to start. The fact that commercial-grade UEFI malware exists has been known since 2015, when the Hacking team UEFI modules were discovered. With that in mind, it is perhaps surprising that no significant UEFI malware has been found, a fact that we attribute to the difficulty in detecting these in a reliable way. We estimate that in 2018 we will see the discovery of more UEFI-based malware.[…]

https://securelist.com/ksb-threat-predictions-for-2018/83169/
https://cdn.securelist.com/files/2017/11/KSB_Predictions_2018_eng.pdf
https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/cyberthreats-in-2018-forecasts-financial/20144/

Standard
Uncategorized

Purism Librem15 fails CHIPSEC security tests

Current Purism Librem15 systems — based on Intel x64/coreboot/SeaBIOS tech — results in 3 FAILs and 1 WARNING from CHIPSEC:

The UEFI Forum recommends that OEMs pass CHIPSEC’s tests before shipping units to customers. I wish modern BIOS-based OEMs would also heed that advice… The default install is to use an MBR-based partition, so also be wary of all of the existing BIOS-centric, MBR-based rootkits. Adhere all ‘evil maid’ warning signs with this laptop. If you have corporate policies that require NIST 800-147/155/193 requirements, you might have to work hard to justify this device. I wish it were not true: configurable or secure, choose one.

In other computer review news: the trackpad did not work during initial install, had to be rebooted. I’m guessing trackpad drivers aren’t integrated? You’ll have to use external mouse if you need to click on something during install of Linux. Same with backlit key and display intensity features: only worked after OS setup. Firmware security pedantry aside, nice hardware. Fan rarely kicks in, unlike some OEMs. It is nice to see a Mac-style trackpad instead of a PC-style touchpad with 2 explicit button areas, I’ve grown to dislike those. Startup and poweroff are both very fast. Reminds me of what a modern non-UEFI system should be like. Great, except we’re no longer in a world where security can be ignored. If you want an insecure BIOS box, you’ll probably enjoy this system. If you care about security, this is a BIOS box….

Standard
Uncategorized

Reversing Toshiba laptop BIOS protection

Michał Kowalczyk has an interesting presentation on Intel BIOS reversing, focusing on a Toshiba system. Presentation is in Polish. If you have a Toshiba, see the excerpt below with advisory info.

 

Oficjalne stanowisko Toshiby
Toshiba is working on a temporary BIOS update that can be used to prevent the security issue that has been raised and expects to release this update on its website within the next 2 weeks.
Toshiba plans to start the release of a permanent fix for some models from January, 2018 and will complete the releases of permanent fix for all applicable models by the end of March 2018.

https://q3k.org/u/bd81619010b3b8ef012ff8af491a034bd9c6c3adfd76ddbb180c43c15f291fc1.pdf

http://dragonsector.pl/

 

Standard
Uncategorized

SeaBIOS 1.11.0 released

New in this release:
* Initial support for NVME drives
* Support for vga emulation over a serial port in SeaBIOS (sercon)
* Support for serial debugging using MMIO based serial ports
* Support for scsi devices with multiple LUNs
* Support for boot-to-boot persistent coreboot cbmem logs
* Improved coreboot vga (cbvga) mode setting compatibility
* Several bug fixes and code cleanups

For full announcement, see Kevin O’Connor’s posting to the SeaBIOS list.

http://seabios.org/Releases
http://seabios.org/Download
https://mail.coreboot.org/mailman/listinfo/seabios

Standard
Uncategorized

biors – BIOS implementation in Rust language

Gabriel Majeri has created “biors”, a BIOS implementation written in Rust! It is only a few days old, does not appear to be ready for use yet.

biors – The Basic Input / Output Rust System

This repository contains an x86 platform firmware implementation – more commonly known as a BIOS. It is written in Rust, and is designed for modern x86_64 processors. Similarly to CoreBoot, it is designed to deliver a “payload” – this could be a PC-AT compatible BIOS, or a UEFI implementation. BIOS is pronounced “BY-oss”, this project is pronounced “BY-orss”.[…]

https://github.com/GabrielMajeri/biors

PS: Gabriel has also written C++ bindings for UEFI! 😉
https://github.com/GabrielMajeri/uefi-cpp

Standard