Firmware threats in YouGuv survey

  • SpinRite v6.1 Release #3
    Guest:
    The 3rd release of SpinRite v6.1 is published and may be obtained by all SpinRite v6.0 owners at the SpinRite v6.1 Pre-Release page. (SpinRite will shortly be officially updated to v6.1 so this page will be renamed.) The primary new feature, and the reason for this release, was the discovery of memory problems in some systems that were affecting SpinRite's operation. So SpinRite now incorporates a built-in test of the system's memory. For the full story, please see this page in the "Pre-Release Announcements & Feedback" forum.
    /Steve.
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    Dear Guest Visitor → Once you register and log-in please checkout the “Tips & Tricks” page for some very handy tips!

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  • BootAble – FreeDOS boot testing freeware

    To obtain direct, low-level access to a system's mass storage drives, SpinRite runs under a GRC-customized version of FreeDOS which has been modified to add compatibility with all file systems. In order to run SpinRite it must first be possible to boot FreeDOS.

    GRC's “BootAble” freeware allows anyone to easily create BIOS-bootable media in order to workout and confirm the details of getting a machine to boot FreeDOS through a BIOS. Once the means of doing that has been determined, the media created by SpinRite can be booted and run in the same way.

    The participants here, who have taken the time to share their knowledge and experience, their successes and some frustrations with booting their computers into FreeDOS, have created a valuable knowledgebase which will benefit everyone who follows.

    You may click on the image to the right to obtain your own copy of BootAble. Then use the knowledge and experience documented here to boot your computer(s) into FreeDOS. And please do not hesitate to ask questions – nowhere else can better answers be found.

    (You may permanently close this reminder with the 'X' in the upper right.)

Harry

Member
Oct 13, 2020
19
3
Hi Steve. From episode 836... I think I know the reason that "firmware attacks against laptops/PC's" is #2 on the list of threats that IT teams are concerned about. It directly relates to next item on the list about "unpatched devices." Firmware is extremely difficult to update centrally, so it's not being updated. Patching has been drilled into people's heads and they're aware that the firmware in almost all of their devices is out of date. I don't think the answer is that high because of any current attacks. I think it is because IT knows they can't easily defend against firmware attacks. I know you guys said that firmware attacks likely require physical access, but we all know that software has little-known or forgotten capabilities that eventually get exploited. Keep up the good work!
 
...... it is because IT knows they can't easily defend against firmware attacks. ............
Detection is virtually non-existent. I remember noticing a rogue unsigned process running on a fresh copy of Windows. Delete the process file from the Windows System32 folder, and it'd be back the next boot. Place restrictive read permissions on the file, and it still got launched during boot. I figured out a way to keep it gone. Eventually I realized that this file and process was sourced from the firmware. This is way back when laptop manufacturers first started lojacking their laptops with BIOS feature.

It's fortunate that variance in hardware makes firmware attacks much less convenient.

I've updated a lot of firmware within the Enterprise but the thing that gives me most pause, is the fact that the systems are so vulnerable during the update period; which can take as long as ten minutes. If the user (or Murphy) interrupts it, that hardware becomes an expensive brick while the user could be looking at significant downtime.