The SSM security hole that Christopher Domas has demonstrated (pdf) is worrying but don't panic, it requires your system to be compromised before you are vulnerable. That said, once you have access to the SMM you can do anything you feel like to the computer up to and including ensuring you can reinfect the machine even after a complete format or UEFI update. The flaw was proven on Intel x86 machines but is likely to apply to AMD processors as well as they were using the same architecture around the turn of the millennium and thankfully the issue has been mitigated in recent processors. Intel will be releasing patches for effected CPUs, although not all the processors can be patched and we have yet to hear from AMD. You can get an over view of the issue by following the link at Slashdot and speculate on if this flaw was a mistake or inserted there on purpose in our comment section.
"Security researcher Christopher Domas has demonstrated a method of installing a rootkit in a PC's firmware that exploits a feature built into every x86 chip manufactured since 1997. The rootkit infects the processor's System Management Mode, and could be used to wipe the UEFI or even to re-infect the OS after a clean install. Protection features like Secure Boot wouldnt help, because they too rely on the SMM to be secure."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Millions of Android devices pwned in single text attack … again @ The Inquirer
- Mozilla Issues Fix For Firefox Zero-Day Bug @ Slashdot
- Microsoft plays down playing fast and loose with Windows 10 privacy @ The Inquirer
- Ransacked US OPM wins Pwnie Award for 'Most EPIC Fail' @ The Register
- Hacking Team brewed potent iOS poison for non-jailbroken iThings @ The Register
- Tesla Model S Has Been Hacked @ Slashdot
- Asus EA-AC87 4×4 wireless bridge @ Kitguru
So there is a reason to
So there is a reason to upgrade after all.
Upgrade to what, new
Upgrade to what, new hardware, a newer UEFI/BIOS version, and windows 10 is bigger security threat than getting infected as a result of the SMM bug. All your information replicated in M$’s Cloud sold off to any and all with the dosh, and I’ll bet that’s going to be the end of M$’s nebulous OS practices! OS updates are not UEFI/BIOS updates, and the OEMs are going to have to fix that on maybe AMD systems also, in addition to Intel. looks like another microcode fix(I hope not), and this functionality can not simply be disabled like the TSX bug, system management mode is essential to the operation of the hardware, and the software of any PC/device! I hope this can be fixed with a simple UEFI/BIOS update, but if it’s in the chip’s hardware below even the microcode update level, then that’s very bad.
Well if AMD is still using
Well if AMD is still using the exact licensed circuitry for SMM from Intel then AMD needs to look at this problem, but if AMD is not still using the exact same circuitry then it may not have any problems. There is code In the UEFI/BIOS that handles the SMM (SMI interrupt ) and it all depends on what AMD has done with their SSM since getting the original implementation. According to Wikipedia entry lots of hacks are targeting the SMM for any signs of entry into that protected area. Talk about Pawn to own, this can even get around any hypervisor security walls, in addition the OS.
How do you patch a processor?
How do you patch a processor? BIOS or OS level microcode update?