Stuff just got real

By Roger Thompson

So, anyway, ESET just released that they found the first UEFI rootkit. You can read about it here … , but the short version is that they found an example of a modified version of Computrace/Lo Jack being used to attack a computer. This is serious, and here are the main bits to know… (1) Computrace/Lo Jack is a legitimate application that is factory installed into the firmware of nearly every laptop in the world, of all varieties. The idea is that if your laptop gets stolen, you can find it, and/or wipe it remotely. This is obviously good, and useful. Close followers of my blogs, and posts, will know that I have pointed out that the Kaspersky guys, in 2014, showed how it could be compromised, and that it was therefore a potential problem, even though it is a legit app. This is not a slight against the excellent Lo Jack. All software has a weak underbelly, if you probe hard enough. This is now proof that I was right. (2) The perps are probably a Russian hacking group (military, KGB, FSB, or something similar), known by a bunch of names, but I call them Fancy Bear, for no particular reason other than it was the first name I knew them by, and it's a neat name. These are the same guys that (probably) broke into a factory in Taiwan in Feb 2018, and modified firmware in a bunch of computers, headed for the German government. If you are a suspicious soul, like me, you probably think this is not their only rodeo.

(3) The perps used a legitimate, and scary powerful tool called RWEverything. This is new to me, but the nub of the matter is that it is a legitimately signed driver that, seemingly, can read or write everything in firmware. This is obviously powerful, and cool, as long as it is used for good.

(4) So far, we have not found an exact match for the samples in their report in our collection, but we have _many_ variants of Lo Jack. They may be all innocent, or … maybe not. We are still looking and thinking. (5) We still have six variants of the Lenovo rootkit, that no one detects (well, one product detects one variant, but that’s approaching zero from a stats perspective… one out of 360). This may/probably mean they are extinct, or ... maybe not… (6) Interestingly, the modus operandi of the Lenovo rootkit and the modified Lo Jacks, are _remarkably_ similar. This might be pure coincidence… or … maybe something else. Bottom line is that we have many variants of Computrace/Lo Jack that need to be examined, and many Lenovo rootkit variants that need to be examined. And we have other things that look suspicious.

It would be really helpful to get more firmware samples, and it's geeky, but some How To instructions can be found here

All this, combined with what we have found about certificates being expired, or marked "Do not trust", or "Do not ship", which you can read about here suggests to me that we are on dangerous, shaky, and new, ground.

Stay tuned.