EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.07.13

UEFI Restricted Boot No Longer Valid for Security, Keys Leaked

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 2:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As much about security as multimedia DRM

Drip

Summary: Antitrust offences with UEFI restricted boot can no longer be defended as an act of enhancing security because keys are leaking

A Fedora developer was the first to embrace Microsoft’s restricted boot, so Fedora was usually ahead of the curve when it comes to it and it shows.

Torvalds criticised Red Hat for complicity with Microsoft [1, 2] after he had slammed restricted boot as something that would not improve security. He was right. Keys were inevitably leaked, leaving UEFI restricted boot (which former Novell/SUSE developers too helped promote) in a position where it is only an antitrust issue and nothing to do with computer security, just protectionism. As one new article puts it, the “Linux Lawsuit Shines Uncomfortable Light on UEFI Standard” and a Restricted Boot proponent leads with this news about UEFI signing keys getting leaked:

A hardware vendor apparently had a copy of an AMI private key on a public FTP site. This is concerning, but it’s not immediately obvious how dangerous this is for a few reasons. The first is that this is apparently the firmware signing key, not any of the Secure Boot keys. That means it can’t be used to sign a UEFI executable or bootloader, so can’t be used to sidestep Secure Boot directly. The second is that it’s AMI’s key, not a board vendor – we don’t (yet) know if this key is used to sign any actual shipping firmware images, or whether it’s effectively a reference key. And, thirdly, the code apparently dates from early 2012 – even if it was an actual signing key, it may have been replaced before any firmware based on this code shipped.

But there’s still the worst case scenario that this key is used to sign most (or all) AMI-based vendor firmware. Can this be used to subvert Secure Boot? Plausibly. The attack would involve producing a new, signed firmware image with Secure Boot either disabled or with an additional key installed, and then to reflash that firmware. Firmware images are very board-specific, so unless you’re engaging in a very targeted attack you either need a large repository of firmware for every board you want to attack, or you need to perform in-place modification.

Now we know that UEFI restrictions had nothing to do with security and eventually became just a competition barrier. Rather than cracking we are seeing leaking as the end of UEFI restricted boot’s (or ‘secure’ boot’s) reputation.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  2. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  3. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  4. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  5. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  6. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  7. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  8. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  9. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  10. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  11. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  12. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  13. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  14. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  15. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  16. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  17. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  18. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  19. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  20. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  21. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  22. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  23. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  24. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  26. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  27. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  28. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  29. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  30. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts