In a previous blog covering one of Binarly’s presentations at the Black Hat 2022 conference, we discussed in detail our research on attacks that disable Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and blind an entire class of endpoint security solutions. We introduced a template for attacks, dubbed ‘one-bit change attack’, on objects residing inside the WMI service address space. We also demonstrated another way to disable WMI by isolating the WMI service from the rest of the operating system through a sandboxing attack.
Only two months have passed since our Black Hat talk where we spoke about a bunch of discovered vulnerabilities. Our presentation at Black Hat revealed 12 serious vulnerabilities affecting enterprise devices industry-wide. The Binarly security research team continues to find evidence of repeatable failures in the firmware development ecosystem, exposing critical vulnerabilities that impact the entire industry rather than just a single vendor.
We promised to release the new version of efiXplorer with ARM-based firmware support last week at the inaugural LABScon event. This is one of the most important releases since the project began in February of 2020. In the beginning, efiXplorer focused primarily on x86-based firmware analysis, but after seeing the growth of ARM-based servers and laptops, we are now adding support for ARM.
The Binarly security research team continues to find evidence of repeatable failures in the firmware development ecosystem, exposing critical vulnerabilities related to the ecosystem that impact the entire industry rather than just a single vendor.
The Binarly security research team has had a busy year finding, documenting and helping to fix high-impact vulnerabilities affecting multiple enterprise vendors. In this blog, we provide an in-depth look at some of the vulnerabilities we discussed at the Black Hat 2022 conference affecting HP EliteBook devices.
In our previous blog, we discussed post-exploitation impact from firmware vulnerabilities which can lead to long-time persistence on the device. A firmware implant is the ultimate goal for an attacker to obtain persistence. An attacker can install the malicious implant on different levels of the firmware, either as a modified legitimate module or a standalone driver. The impact of targeting unprivileged non-SMM DXE runtime drivers or applications by a threat actor is often underestimated. This kind of malicious DXE driver can bypass Secure Boot and influence further boot stages. All these firmware threats have been discovered only after many years of being deployed in the wild.
The increasingly large number of firmware vulnerabilities gives attackers a lot of options for persistence and the means to bypass traditional endpoint solutions. At least two recently discovered firmware implants -- MoonBounce and CosmicStrand -- have persisted for more than seven years by using basic firmware bootkit techniques. In general, the UEFI system firmware grows in complexity every year and constantly introduces new attack surfaces.
This blog post describes my joint research with Alexandre Gazet that culminated with us presenting the “Breaking Through Another Side: Bypassing Firmware Security Boundaries from Embedded Controller” (slides) talk at BlackHat 2019 Conference in Las Vegas. Our REsearch focused on the Embedded Controller security and Intel BIOS Guard technology implementation in Lenovo Thinkpad BIOS and took around 5 month of our spare time.
At the last Black Hat event in Vegas, I presented the first publicly known concept of an attack on a specific implementation of Intel Boot Guard technology - technology that is mostly undocumented. While I was working on this research one thought bothered me: the specification of a technology can be almost perfect, but after all, the implementation part is done by third-parties and it is challenging to maintain proper level security in this case. Intel Boot Guard is an excellent example of a complex technology where there are places where making a small mistake allows an attacker to bypass the security of the entire technology.