SpeculationControl is a PowerShell script that summarizes the state of configurable Windows mitigations for various speculative execution side channel vulnerabilities, such as CVE-2017-5715 (Spectre variant 2) and CVE-2017-5754 (Meltdown). For an explanation on how to interpret the output of this tool, please see Understanding Get-SpeculationControlSettings PowerShell script output.[…]
Everything we know about Campfire, Google’s secretive project to get Windows 10 running on Chromebooks.[…]
The latest version of Windows apparently has new protections against PCILeech and related attacks:
An ice-cold Boot to break BitLocker
By Olle Segerdahl & Pasi Saarinen
A decade ago, academic researchers demonstrated how computer memory remanence could be used to defeat popular disk encryption systems. Not much has happened since, and most seem to believe that these attacks are too impractical for real world use. Even Microsoft have even started to play down the threat of memory remanence attacks against BitLocker, using words such as “they are not possible using published techniques”. We will publish techniques that allow recovery of BitLocker encryption keys from RAM on most, if not all, currently available devices. While BitLocker is called out in the title, the same attacks are also valid against other platforms and operating systems.
Olle is a veteran of the IT-security industry, having worked with both “breaking” and “building” security solutions for almost 20 years. During that time, he has worked on securing classified systems, critical infrastructure and cryptographic products as well as building software whitelisting solutions used by industrial robots and medical equipment. He is currently the Swedish Principal Security Consultant with F-Secure’s technical security consulting practice.
Pasi is an experienced security researcher with a background in both software and network security. In previous employment he has worked on a modern framework for white-box fuzz testing of binaries and security standardization of the 5G mobile network. While he has a very Finnish name, he plays for team Sweden in F-Secure’s technical security consulting practice.
The Seven Properties of Highly Secure Devices
March 31, 2017
Industry largely underestimates the critical societal need to embody the highest levels of security in every network-connected device—every child’s toy, every household’s appliances, and every industry’s equipment. High development and maintenance costs have limited strong security to high-cost or highmargin devices. Our group has begun a research agenda to bring high-value security to low-cost devices. We are especially concerned with the tens of billions of devices powered by microcontrollers. This class of devices is particularly ill-prepared for the security challenges of internet connectivity. Insufficient investments in the security needs of these and other price-sensitive devices have left consumers and society critically exposed to device security and privacy failures. This paper makes two contributions to the field of device security. First, we identify seven properties we assert are required in all highly secure devices. Second, we describe our experiment working with a silicon partner to revise one of their microcontrollers to create a prototype, highly secure microcontroller. Our experimental results suggest that in the near future even the most price-sensitive devices should be redesigned to achieve the high levels of device security critical to society’s safety. While our first experimental results are promising, more ongoing research remains and we seek to enlist the broader security community in a dialog on device security.
I’m glad that Virtualization-Based Security has replaced VisualBasic Script as the new acronym for VBS. 🙂
The escalating sophistication of cyberattacks is marked by the increased use of kernel-level exploits that attempt to run malware with the highest privileges and evade security solutions and software sandboxes. Kernel exploits famously gave the WannaCry and Petya ransomware remote code execution capability, resulting in widescale global outbreaks. Windows 10 remained resilient to these attacks, with Microsoft constantly raising the bar in platform security to stay ahead of threat actors. Virtualization-based security (VBS) hardens Windows 10 against attacks by using the Windows hypervisor to create an environment that isolates a secure region of memory known as secure memory enclaves.[…]
Simon BIsson of InfoWorld has an article on Microsoft Azure Sphere, about various security components, and a bit on Sphere OS, their Linux distro.
C++ Developer Guidance for Speculative Execution Side Channels
Matt Miller Colin Robertson Mike B
This article contains guidance for developers to assist with identifying and mitigating speculative execution side channel hardware vulnerabilities in C++ software. These vulnerabilities can disclose sensitive information across trust boundaries and can affect software that runs on processors that support speculative, out-of-order execution of instructions. This class of vulnerabilities was first described in January, 2018 and additional background and guidance can be found in Microsoft’s security advisory. The guidance provided by this article is related to the class of vulnerabilities represented by CVE-2017-5753, also known as Spectre variant 1. This hardware vulnerability class is related to side channels that can arise due to speculative execution that occurs as a result of a conditional branch misprediction. The Visual C++ compiler in Visual Studio 2017 (starting with version 15.5.5) includes support for the /Qspectre switch provides a compile-time mitigation for a limited set of potentially vulnerable coding patterns related to CVE-2017-5753. The documentation for the /Qspectre flag provides more information on its effects and usage.[…]
[…]An accessible introduction to speculative execution side channel vulnerabilities can be found in the presentation titled The Case of Spectre and Meltdown by one of the research teams that discovered these issues.[…]
Introducing support for Virtualization Based Security and Credential Guard in vSphere 6.7
Microsoft virtualization-based security, also known as “VBS”, is a feature of the Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 operating systems. It uses hardware and software virtualization to enhance Windows system security by creating an isolated, hypervisor-restricted, specialized subsystem. Starting with vSphere 6.7, you can now enable Microsoft (VBS) on supported Windows guest operating systems. You may or may not be familiar with these new Windows features. Based on conversations I have with security teams, you might want to become familiar! What you will hear first and foremost is the requirement for “Credential Guard” which is why I added that to the title. In order to level set the conversation in this blog I will go over the features as they related to a bare metal installation of Windows and then a Windows VM on ESXi.[…]
Microsoft has recently updated (or created?, as I’ve never read it before) this document, showing how to update your TPM firmware.
Trusted Cyber Physical Systems looks to protect your critical infrastructure from modern threats in the world of IoT
Thomas Pfenning / Director Software Engineering
April 24, 2018
This week at Hannover Messe 2018 in Germany, we are excited to demonstrate how Microsoft is utilizing its more than 25 years of embedded and hardware security experience with a new project codenamed Trusted Cyber Physical Systems (TCPS). This solution seeks to provide end-to-end security that is resilient to today’s cyber-attacks so our industrial customers can operate their critical infrastructures with confidence and with no negative impact to their intellectual property and customer experience.[…]
WinMagic makes full-disk encryption products, including a UEFI one, which the UEFI CA (Microsoft) signs, AFAIK.
Is Microsoft really claiming Pre-Boot Authentication for Full Disk Encryption is not necessary?[…]To summarize, Microsoft has got this one wrong. The fault in their logic is thinking that PBA is limited to protection against memory attacks AFTER automatically unlocking the drive. They missed the whole point of PBA, which is to prevent anything being read from the drive, such as the operating system BEFORE the user has confirmed they have the correct password or other credentials. PBA is a necessary component of a FDE solution in order to fully achieve the confidentiality (and compliance) that full disk encryption is capable of providing.
Mid-last month Microsoft announced a temporary bug bounty, good until the end of the year, on speculative execution:
Microsoft Speculative Execution Side Channel Bounty Program