10-23-2019, 07:20 AM #1Report: Microsoft’s new Secured-core PC initiative
As recently as 2016, firmware vulnerabilities weren't being sought out and found very often. But starting in 2017, one or more has been discovered pretty much every day. (credit: Microsoft)
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new hardware security initiative, dubbed Secured-core PC. The short version of what "Secured-core PC" really means is a defense against attacks at the firmware layer.
Although actual firmware-based attacks have been relatively uncommon in the field so far, they represent a particularly nasty avenue of exploitation for an advanced, persistent attacker. Once a machine's firmware is compromised, the exploit is persistent across reboots, operating-system re-installations, and even full hard drive replacement.
As operating systems themselves become more secure and difficult to compromise and keep compromised, the value of pivoting from a shell to the firmware layer in order to enhance persistence also increases. Even detection of compromised firmware is problematic, since Windows Defender and other antivirus applications run at the operating-system level and don't necessarily have direct access to the firmware.
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