Major BIOS Vulnerabilities Uncovered, Posing Threat to System Security and Devices

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Major BIOS Vulnerabilities Uncovered, Posing Threat to System Security and Devices
Image: Pexels.com/@rethaferguson

A group of security experts at Binarly made a pretty concerning discovery. They found some weak spots in image-parsing libraries that seem to affect the top three BIOS providers. That’s a big deal because it messes with the whole UEFI firmware ecosystem.

What’s really worrying is that these vulnerabilities could let someone bypass Secure Boot and other security tech. Essentially, hackers could run harmful code through tricked-out boot logos on systems that aren’t secure. The researchers are waving a red flag about this in their latest report.

Initially, they spotted these issues on Lenovo gadgets, calling it “Logofail.” But here’s the kicker: it’s not just Lenovo devices. It’s way bigger, affecting both x86 and ARM-based devices, which covers a lot of ground.

This Logofail thing lets attackers stash sneaky logo image files in places like the EFI System Partition or within firmware updates. And when these images—like BMP, JPG, or GIF files—are processed to show up as boot logos, bam, there’s a potential for executing bad code. This could slip past security features like Secure Boot, according to the researchers.

Even those beefed-up hardware-based security measures by big players like Intel, AMD, or ARM might not stop Logofail from doing its thing. That means attackers could slip past these protections, sneak in persistent malware, and pretty much take over a system without being easily detected.

What’s interesting, though, is that unlike other similar issues in the past, Logofail doesn’t seem to mess with the system’s runtime integrity. The researchers explained that it’s more about an ongoing trick using a modified boot logo image, triggering the deployment of malicious stuff at runtime.

Now, this Logofail business is affecting BIOS made by major players like AMI, Insyde, and Phoenix. It’s a big deal because it could potentially impact a ton of devices—consumer and enterprise ones alike—from brands like Intel, Acer, and Lenovo. Seems like almost any device with BIOS from these suppliers could be at risk.

As for the nitty-gritty technical details, those are still under wraps. The researchers are planning to spill the beans during a presentation at Black Hat Europe on December 6. They’re still figuring out the full extent of this mess, so stay tuned for updates.

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Michael Lynch
With a passion for cybersecurity, Michael Lynch covers data protection and online privacy, providing expert guidance and updates on digital security matters.