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

06.06.13

UEFI ‘Secure’ Boot is Not About Security, Insyde Software’s Business Model is Misguided and Dangerous

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Security at 9:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corporate insecurity for Insyde Software, corporate security for Microsoft

UEFI

Summary: Promotion of bad ideas by Insyde Software merits another discussion about what UEFI actually means to ordinary GNU/Linux users

The main problem with UEFI is its effect on freedom. It’s not just about restricted boot but also patents and other issues covered in the criticism section in Wikipedia.

A new press release from Taiwan describes UEFI as a security mechanism, but this is utter fiction. Last month I spoke for over an hour with the president of the UEFI Forum, covering in length the aspect of security. He too was led to agreeing with me that security is hardly improved by UEFI, which can have its barriers bypassed and ignored. The press release says something like this:

Insyde Software, a leading provider of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) BIOS, today announced the availability of new UEFI security features including Secure Boot and secure firmware update for leading Linux distributions.

No, thanks. Linux does not need UEFI for security. Even Torvalds rejects the 'security' claim (he dislikes ‘secure’ boot in general [1, 2]). So the above is a marketing gimmick, that’s all. Insyde Software will boost flawed claims of ‘security’, so we should all be prepared to rebut.

Dr. Garrett, an expert in this field and occasional apologist, demonstrated that UEFI with Linux can brick hardware [1, 2, 3]. So much for security, eh? He is supporting it, sadly enough, based on very weak grounds. He should have antagonised it instead. Earlier this week he posted an update on the bricking issue:

Meanwhile, Samsung got back to us and let us know that their systems didn’t require more than 5KB of nvram space to be available, which meant we could get rid of the 50% value and replace it with 5KB. The hope was that any system that booted with only 5KB of space available in nvram would trigger a garbage collection run. Unfortunately, it turned out that that wasn’t true – some systems will only trigger garbage collection if the OS actually makes an attempt to write a variable that won’t otherwise fit.

So the search for a solution goes on under the false pretences that buggy, experimental UEFI sometimes adds something for GNU/Linux users to enjoy. The practical benefits of UEFI are very minor to ordinary desktop users. UEFI is good for two monopolies: the Intel/x86 monopoly and the Windows monopoly.

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 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

    Links for the day



  2. Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  3. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  4. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  5. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  6. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  8. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  9. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  10. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  11. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  12. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  13. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  14. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  15. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  16. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  17. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  18. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  19. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface



  20. Links 11/12/2014: systemd 218, Empire Total War

    Links for the day



  21. Links 10/12/2014: Fedora 21, Ubuntu Core

    Links for the day



  22. Links 9/12/2014: Fedora 21 and Torture Report Are Out

    Links for the day



  23. Exclusive: The Enlarged Board of Appeal Complains About Battistelli's Corrupt Management to the Administrative Council (Updated)

    Text of the complaint from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) reaches Techrights, demonstrating just how rampant the abuse in Battistelli's EPO has become



  24. Protests Against EPO Corruption Approach 1,000 in Attendance

    EPO staff at all levels is revolting against the management of the EPO, whose dismissal seems to be only a matter of time



  25. Links 9/12/2014: Greg Kroah-Hartman Interview, Fedora 21 Imminent

    Links for the day



  26. EPO Staff Protests Today and Protested Last Week, Targeting Corruption in the Institution

    PO staff is demonstrating against abuse by the management of the EPO, today we well as in prior days



  27. Links 7/12/2014: New Linux Release, Marines and Prisoners on GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  28. EPO Scandal: Benoît Battistelli's Arrogance Recognised by European Delegations

    Battistelli’s Nixon moment and the evasive nature of his approach towards external delegations that are troubled by his behaviour



  29. CBS Brushing Aside and Away Microsoft's History of Blackmail and Bribes Against Linux

    Putting in context some of the poor reporting (or whitewash) regarding Microsoft's bribe (disguised as "partnership") to Barnes & Noble



  30. Links 7/12/2014: Typhoon Hagupit, AURORAGOLD

    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