'Voodoo' Hackers: Stealing Secrets From Snowden's Favorite OS Is Easier Than You'd Think

Anonymous Coward
in security on (#J92P)
Tor has its advocates, and it's certainly our best chance at ensuring a modicum of privacy online. But it's got vulnerabilities of its own.

One attack vector is through secure BIOS systems that can be rooted and then have access to everything a computer does, regardless of operating system.
Kallenberg and Kovah have created a tool that automates the identification and exploitation of BIOS bugs, a number of which they will detail at CanSecWest. Using their own bespoke malware, they have repeatedly been able to gain access to System Management Mode (SMM), a part of the computer used by firmware that's entirely separate from other processes, but can read everything going through a machine's memory.

"Once the payload is delivered, we have an agent running in SMM," said Kallenberg during a demo session with FORBES. "The thing about SMM is that it runs independent of the operating system, the operating system has no visibility into system management mode, it's a protected region that can't be read or written by the OS - Tails can't read or write to it - but it has access to all of memory."
Check out the rest at 'Voodoo' Hackers: Stealing Secrets From Snowden's Favorite OS Is Easier Than You'd Think.

Re: FFS (Score: 1)

by zafiro17@pipedot.org on 2015-08-24 13:12 (#J9VS)

Credit goes too, to groups like Intel, who have steadily increased the 'power' and 'utility' of the BIOS to the point where it is now a fun attack vector. All this 'management code' and such - I can't be specific because I scarecely understand it, myself - is frightening.

BIOS should check the hardware, hand things off to the boot loader, and then "peace out." Make any code complicated enough and begins to become a target; I think that's exactly what we've got here.
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