Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
5/20/2016
01:58 PM
Steve Zurier
Steve Zurier
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

5 Tips for Protecting Firmware From Attacks

Don't let hackers take advantage of holes in firmware. Here's how to stop them.
Previous
1 of 6
Next

Image Source: hackaday.com

Image Source: hackaday.com

Just about every component on a computer system contains firmware. Many people just think of the firmware on the system BIOS on a PC, but network interface cards, embedded controllers, graphics cards, USB sticks, mice, keyboards and of course, routers and switches all have firmware.

Yuriy Bulygin and John Loucaides, security researchers at Intel Security, point out that hackers attack firmware because they know many security and IT managers aren’t paying attention to it. They say security teams are so overwhelmed by the prevailing threat landscape, that they have their hands full just deploying the basics, like firewalls, intrusion prevention systems and sandboxes.

“Hackers are depending on security managers ignoring firmware, which means that spreading awareness that firmware must be protected is very important,” Loucaides says.

Bulygin and Loucaides say hackers attack firmware for three main reasons:

  • Persistence. Security mangers can clean up malware on most systems with antivirus software or sandbox it and then remediate with software. Not so with firmware. Compromised firmware could cause malware to keep coming back even after normal remediation actions. 
  • Stealth. Normal mechanisms for detecting malware do not examine firmware. Therefore, compromised firmware can be used to hide malicious behavior for a long time.
  • Full access. If malware can control system firmware, it gains full access to the system. Normal protection mechanisms used by an OS or virtual machine rely on platform characteristics that are controlled by firmware. By altering firmware, malware can usually bypass existing measures.

While much of this may be alarming, there are steps security managers can take to protect their organizations from attacks on firmware. Bulygin and Loucaides outline five tips that help security managers become aware of the issue and offer ways to take steps to plug any potential holes in firmware.

 

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 24 of which were spent covering networking and security technology. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio

Previous
1 of 6
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
honey143
50%
50%
honey143,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/26/2016 | 3:37:44 AM
greetings!!
Awesome article very informative..
hilalashwaq411
50%
50%
hilalashwaq411,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/27/2016 | 12:46:54 AM
Thank you
Thanks for the wonderful tips! Aside from installing anti malware software (like antivirus - ESET Antivirus etc), one's innocence of malware must be addressed. Be informed and cautious all the time.
Where Businesses Waste Endpoint Security Budgets
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/15/2019
How Attackers Infiltrate the Supply Chain & What to Do About It
Shay Nahari, Head of Red-Team Services at CyberArk,  7/16/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-13961
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
A CSRF vulnerability was found in flatCore before 1.5, leading to the upload of arbitrary .php files via acp/core/files.upload-script.php.
CVE-2019-13962
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
lavc_CopyPicture in modules/codec/avcodec/video.c in VideoLAN VLC media player through 3.0.7 has a heap-based buffer over-read because it does not properly validate the width and height.
CVE-2019-10101
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
OECMS v4.3.R60321 and v4.3 later is affected by: Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF). The impact is: The victim clicks on adding an administrator account. The component is: admincp.php. The attack vector is: network connectivity. The fixed version is: v4.3.
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
MailCleaner before c888fbb6aaa7c5f8400f637bcf1cbb844de46cd9 is affected by: Unauthenticated MySQL database password information disclosure. The impact is: MySQL database content disclosure (e.g. username, password). The component is: The API call in the function allowAction() in NewslettersControlle...
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Open Information Security Foundation Suricata prior to version 4.1.3 is affected by: Denial of Service - TCP/HTTP detection bypass. The impact is: An attacker can evade a signature detection with a specialy formed sequence of network packets. The component is: detect.c (https://github.com/OISF/suric...