Bonum Certa Men Certa

Matthew Garrett’s Twitter Log Shows Exactly Why We Need to Give Security Theater the Boot

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

Matthew Garrett put Security Theater Boot support into the Linux kernel some time ago, and he got a Free Software Treachery Award for it from the joke that the FSF has turned into.

"Bootkits just really aren’t much of a problem on desktop GNU/Linux..."Now on his Twitter log, he shows us some of the mess he has caused.

See, if you have “Secure” Boot turned on, and you shouldn’t, but if you do, you’ll see the Linux kernel complain that it is disabling hibernation support, and while that alone really isn’t a huge problem because as long as you can suspend and resume (which still is far from given these days even though we were lied to and told uEFI would be better, over ten years ago), it really shows where we’re at now.

Bootkits just really aren’t much of a problem on desktop GNU/Linux, and I doubt they were ever a real problem on much of anything involving a competently-administered GNU/Linux systems, except maybe embedded hardware, where they can lock it down all they want, but those people don’t care about security. If some asshole at Netgear can make a cable modem based on a Linux 2.6 kernel, you’d better believe they’ll do it. After all, you probably won’t know if your modem is compromised.

In reality, I strongly suspect that even on the Windows side, Security Theater Boot was implemented to make it harder to crack Windows using a boot activation exploit. While it’s true that Microsoft laid off the locking people out of their computer over activation failures, for now, the truth is that after Windows 11 requires Security Theater Boot, OEMs may just make it mandatory and stick you with it, and then Microsoft could decide at any time to stop signing shim, and there’s no way to boot GNU/Linux on a PC anymore. The minute they think they can, they will. The only reason you could turn it off up until now was that they had legacy software and hardware in support, but that’s going away.

"But in exchange for false security which doesn’t gain us anything, we’re forced to deal with no hibernation..."It’s part of the “Up yours, buy new stuff!” theme of Windows 11 where lots of expensive computers won’t run it because they’re 36 months old. (But switching to GNU/Linux on these is probably an option for you.).

But in exchange for false security which doesn’t gain us anything, we’re forced to deal with no hibernation, an entire “kernel lockdown” (unauthorized access… by you, the owner of the machine) patch set whose entire goal was to remove the user’s control over kernel settings from userspace (which Microsoft didn’t even publicly demand in exchange for signing the shim bootloader after Red Hat and Canonical bent the knee instead of filing lawsuits), and has left us unable to extend the kernel that runs our own machines with out-of-tree drivers that we feel like running.

Since people can delete tweets and make them unavailable for critical comment, here’s what this sanctimonious asshole has been up to lately.

UEFI troll tweet

UEFI troll tweet

UEFI broken
Yes, that FAMOUS GNU/Linux bootloader, “Windows Bootloader”. There it is, under P:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\en-us. I’d recognize it anywhere!

He guesses and gets it into the kernel, and you get to wonder if your OS will work later. He also exaggerates, misdirects, and misleads. (see above) But that’s what carnival barkers do.

That is sort of what happens when you have a failed biologist implementing Security Theater from Microsoft. Getting money from them by proxy to do it with.

The company that brought you Windows.

The operating system that goes “Herr! Derr! Here you go, have some files dumped on this here flash drive because the letter belonged to your portable hard disk earlier! Here’s some Microsoft Defender, don’tcha know!?”.

Anyway, I really do wish I had all day to read his Twitter blogs where he pontificates about how the police who protect him from the rioters are evil murderers. But I’ve thought about him too much for one day just for this post.

Anyway, enjoy Windows 11. I’m sure it’ll be great.

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