Open the storage bay doorways, HAL [Audio + Text] – Bare Safety

DOUG  Patches aplenty, linked storage doorways, and motherboard malfeasance.

All that and extra on the Bare Safety podcast.


Welcome to the podcast, all people.

I’m Doug Aamoth; he’s Paul Ducklin.

Paul, how do you do?

DUCK  I’m nonetheless attempting to make sense of whenever you stated “linked storage doorways”, Doug.

As a result of that is connectivity on a complete new scale!

DOUG  Oh, sure!

What may probably go incorrect?

We’ll get into that…

We like to begin the present with the This Week in Tech Historical past phase.

Now we have many choices… at present we are going to spin the wheel.

What occurred this week?

The primary man in house, Yuri Gagarin, in 1961; Ronald Wayne leaves Apple and sells his inventory for $800 in 1976 – most likely a little bit of remorse there; the germination of COBOL in 1959; the primary House Shuttle launch in 1981; the Apollo 13 rescue mission in 1970; Metallica sues Napster in 2000; and the primary West Coast Laptop Faire in 1977.

Let’s go forward and spin the wheel right here, and see the place we land.




DOUG  And we bought COBOL!

Congratulations, Paul – good job.

This week, in 1959, there was a gathering, and on the assembly had been some crucial and influential computing pioneers who mentioned the creation of a standard, business-friendly programming language.

The one-and-only Grace Hopper prompt that the US Division of Protection fund such a language.

And, fortunately sufficient, a DOD computing director was on the identical assembly, favored the thought, and agreed to fund it.

And with that, COBOL was born, Paul.

DUCK  Sure!

COBOL: COmmon Enterprise-Oriented Language.

And it got here out of a factor referred to as CODASYL.

[LAUGHS} That’s the acronym to begin/end all acronyms: The Conference/Committee on Data Systems Languages.

But it was an intriguing idea that, of course, has come full circle several times, not least with JavaScript in the browser.

A language like FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation) was very popular for scientific computing at the time.

But every company, every compiler, every little group of programmers had their own version of FORTRAN, which was better than everybody else’s.

And the idea of COBOL was, “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could write the code, and then you could take it to any compliant compiler on any system, and the code would, within the limits of the system, behave the same?”

So it was a way of providing a cmmon, business-oriented language… exactly as the name suggests.

DOUG  Exactly!


Alright, we’ve come a long way (good job, everybody), including up to the most recent Patch Tuesday.

We’ve got a zero-day; we’ve got two curious bugs; and we’ve got about 90-some other bugs.

But let’s get to the good stuff, Paul…

Patch Tuesday: Microsoft fixes a zero-day, and two curious bugs that take the Secure out of Secure Boot

DUCK  Yes, let’s just knock on the head the zero-day, which is CVE-2023-28252, if you want to search that one down.

Because that’s one that crooks obviously already know how to exploit.

It’s a bug in a part of Windows that we’ve seen bugs in before, namely the Common Log File System driver.

And that’s a system driver that allows any service or app on your device to do system logging in (supposedly) a controlled, secure way.

You write your logs… they don’t get lost; not everyone invents their own way of doing it; they get properly timestamped; they get recorded, even if there’s heavy load; etc.

Unfortunately, the driver that processes these logs… it’s basically doing its stuff under the SYSTEM account.

So if there’s a bug in it, when you log something in a way that’s not supposed to happen, usually what happens is that you have what’s called an Elevation of Privilege, or EoP.

And somebody who a moment ago might have just been a GUEST user suddenly is running under the SYSTEM account, which basically gives them as-good-as total control over the system.

They can load and unload other drivers; they can access pretty much all the files; they can spy on other programs; they can start and stop processes; and so on.

That’s the 0-day.

It only got rated Important by Microsoft… I presume because it’s not remote code execution, so it can’t be used by a crook to hack into your system in the first place.

But once they’re in, this bug could, in theory (and in practice, given that it’s an O-day), be used by a crook who’s already in to get what are effectively superpowers on your computer.

DOUG  And then, if you take the Secure out of Secure Boot, what does it become, Paul?


DUCK  “Boot”, I suppose?

Yes, these are two bugs that just intrigued me enough to want to focus on them in the article on Naked Security. (If you want to know everything about all the patches, go to and read the SophosLabs report on these bugs.)

I won’t read out the numbers, they’re in the article… they both are headlined with the following words: Windows Boot Manager Security Feature Bypass Vulnerability.

And I’ll read out how Microsoft describes it:

An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could bypass Secure Boot to run unauthorised code.

To be successful, the attacker would need either physical access or administrator privileges…

…which I imagine they might be able to get through the bug we spoke about at the start. [LAUGHS]

DOUG  Precisely, I used to be simply considering that!

DUCK  However the factor about, “Hey, guys, don’t fear, they’d want bodily entry to your pc” is, for my part, just a little little bit of a crimson herring, Doug.

As a result of the entire thought of Safe Boot is it’s meant to guard you even in opposition to individuals who do get bodily entry to your pc, as a result of it stops issues just like the so referred to as “evil cleaner” assault…

…which is the place you’ve simply left your laptop computer in your lodge room for 20 minutes when you nip right down to breakfast.

Cleaners come into lodge rooms on daily basis; they’re speculated to be there.

Your laptop computer’s there; it’s closed; you suppose, “They don’t know the password, to allow them to’t log in.”

However what if they may simply pop the lid open, stick in a USB key, and energy it up whereas they full the cleansing of your room…

…in order that they don’t must spend any time truly doing the hacking, as a result of that’s all automated.

Shut the laptop computer; take away the USB key.

What in the event that they’ve implanted some malware?

That’s what’s identified within the jargon as a bootkit.

Not a rootkit, even decrease than that: a BOOT equipment.

One thing that really influences your pc between the time that the firmware is run and Home windows itself truly begins.

In different phrases, it fully subverts the underpinnings on which Home windows itself bases the safety that’s coming subsequent.

For instance, what if it had logged your BitLocker keystrokes, so it now knew the password to unlock your complete pc for subsequent time?

And the entire thought of Safe Boot is it says, “Nicely, something that isn’t digitally signed by a key that’s been preloaded into your pc (into what’s referred to as the Trusted Platform Module), any code that someone introduces, whether or not they’re an evil cleaner or a effectively intentioned IT supervisor, merely gained’t run.

Though Microsoft solely charges these bugs Necessary as a result of they’re not your conventional distant code execution exploits, if I had been a daily-driver Home windows consumer, I believe I’d patch, if just for these alone.

DOUG  So, get patched up now!

You’ll be able to examine these particular objects on Bare Safety, and a broader article on Sophos News that particulars the 97 CVEs in complete which have been patched.

And let’s keep on the patch prepare, and discuss Apple, together with some zero-days, Paul.

Apple points emergency patches for spyware-style 0-day exploits – replace now!

DUCK  These had been certainly zero-days that had been the one issues patched on this specific replace launched by Apple.

As ever, Apple doesn’t say upfront what it’s going to do, and it doesn’t offer you any warning, and it doesn’t say who’s going to get what when…

…simply at first of the Easter weekend, we bought these patches that coated a WebKit zero-day.

So, in different phrases, merely taking a look at a booby-trapped web site may get distant code execution, *and* there was a bug within the kernel that meant that after you had pwned an app, you might then pwn the kernel and basically take over the entire machine.

Which mainly smells of, “Hey, browse to my beautiful web site. Oh, pricey. Now I’ve bought spyware and adware throughout your cellphone. And I haven’t simply taken over your browser, I’ve taken over every little thing.”

And in true Apple vogue… at first, there have been updates in opposition to each of these bugs for macOS 13 Ventura (the most recent model of macOS), and for iOS and iPad OS 16.

There have been partial fixes – theere had been WebKit fixes – for the 2 older variations of macOS, however no patches for the kernel stage vulnerability.

And there was nothing in any respect for iOS and iPadOS 15.

Does this imply that the older variations of macOS don’t have the kernel bug?

That they do have the kernel bug, however they simply haven’t been patched but?

Is iOS 15 immune, or is it needing a patch however they’re simply not saying?

After which, lo and behold, within the aftermath of the Easter weekend, [LAUGHS] all of a sudden three extra updates got here out that stuffed in all of the lacking items.

Apple zero-day spyware and adware patches prolonged to cowl older Macs, iPhones and iPads

It certainly turned out that each one supported iOSes and iPadOSes (which is variations 15 and 16), and all supported macOSes (that’s variations 11, 12 and 13) contained each of those bugs.

And now all of them have patches in opposition to each of them.

Provided that this bug was apparently discovered by a mix of the Amnesty Worldwide Safety Lab and the Google Menace Response Group…

…effectively, you possibly can most likely guess that it has been used for spyware and adware in actual life.

Due to this fact, even in case you don’t suppose that you just’re the type of one who’s more likely to be liable to that type of attacker, what it means is that these bugs not solely exist, they clearly appear to work fairly effectively within the wild.

So in case you haven’t carried out an replace verify in your Mac or your iDevice these days, please accomplish that.

Simply in case you missed out.


As we all know, linked storage door corporations code these storage doorways with cybersecurity in thoughts.

So it’s stunning that one thing like this has occurred, Paul…

Hack and enter! The “safe” storage doorways that anybody can open from wherever – what you must know

DUCK  Sure.

On this case, Doug (and I really feel we’d higher say the model title: it’s Nexx), they appear to have launched a particular type of cybersecurity.

Zero-factor authentication, Doug!

That’s the place you are taking one thing that’s not meant to be made public (in contrast to an e-mail tackle or a Twitter deal with, the place you need folks to realize it), however that’s not truly a secret.

So, an instance may be the MAC tackle of your wi-fi card.

On this case, they’d given every of their gadgets a presumably distinctive machine ID…

…and in case you knew what any machine’s ID was, that counted as mainly username, password and login code multi function go.

DOUG  [GROAN] That’s handy…

DUCK  Much more handy, Doug: there’s a tough coded password within the firmware of each machine.

DOUG  Oh, there we go! [LAUGHS]

DUCK  [LAUGHS] As soon as somebody is aware of what that magic password is, it permits them to log into the cloud messaging system that these gadgets use across the globe.

What the researcher who did this discovered, as a result of he had certainly one of these gadgets…

…he discovered that whereas he was awaiting his personal site visitors, which he would possibly anticipate to see, he bought everybody else’s as effectively, together with their machine IDs.

DOUG  [BIGGER GROAN] Oh, my goodness!

DUCK  Simply in case the machine ID wasn’t sufficient, additionally they occur to incorporate your e-mail tackle, your preliminary, and your loved ones title within the JSON information as effectively.

Simply in case you didn’t already know tips on how to stalk the individual again to the place they lived.

So, you might both go spherical to their home and open their storage after which steal their stuff. (Oh, by the way in which, this additionally appears utilized to their residence alarm methods as effectively, so you might flip off the alarm earlier than you opened the storage door.)

Or, in case you had been of sufficiently evil intent, you might simply randomly open folks’s storage doorways wherever they lived, as a result of apparently that’s terribly amusing. Doug.

DOUG  [IRONIC] The least that this researcher may have carried out would have been to alert the corporate, say, three-plus months in the past, and provides them time to repair this.

DUCK  Sure, that’s concerning the least he may have carried out.

Which is precisely what he did do.

And that’s finally why, a number of months later (I believe it was in January he first contacted them, and he simply couldn’t get them transferring on this)…

…finally he stated, “I’m simply going to go public with this.”

To again him up, the US CISA [Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency] truly put out a kind of APB on this saying, “By the way in which, simply so you already know, this firm isn’t being responsive, and we don’t actually know what to advise you.”

Nicely, my recommendation was… think about using good quaint bodily keys; don’t use the app.

To be truthful, though the researcher described the character of the bugs, as I’ve described them to you right here, he didn’t truly put out a proof-of-concept.

It wasn’t like he made it super-easy for everyone.

However I believe he felt that he virtually had an obligation of care to individuals who had this product to know that possibly they too, wanted to lean on the seller.

DOUG  Alright, this can be a traditional “we’ll regulate that” kind of story.

And a terrific reminder on the finish of the article… you write, because the previous joke places it, “The S in IoT stands for Safety”, which could be very a lot the case.

DUCK  Sure, it’s time that we put the S in IoT, isn’t it?

I don’t know what number of occasions we’re going to be telling tales like this about IoT gadgets… each time we do it, we hope it’s the final time, don’t we?

Exhausting coded passwords.

Replay assaults being potential, as a result of there’s no cryptographic uniqueness in every request.

Leaking different folks’s information.

Together with pointless stuff in requests and replies… in case you’ve bought the machine ID and also you’re attempting to establish the machine, you don’t want to inform the machine its proprietor’s e-mail tackle each time you need the door to open!

It’s simply not essential, and in case you don’t give it out, then it could possibly’t leak!

[IRONIC] However apart from that, Doug, I don’t really feel strongly about it.

DOUG  [LAUGHS] OK, superb.

Our final story of the day, however definitely not the least.

Motherboard producer MSI is having some certificate-based firmware complications these days.

Consideration players! Motherboard maker MSI admits to breach, points “rogue firmware” alert

DUCK  Sure, this can be a fairly horrible story.

Allegedly, a ransomware crew going by the title Cash Message have breached MSI, the motherboard makers. (They’re very talked-about with players as a result of they’re very tweakable motherboards.)

The criminals declare to have huge portions of knowledge that they’re going to breach except they get the cash.

They haven’t bought the precise information on their leak website (a minimum of they hadn’t once I appeared final night time, which was simply earlier than the deadline expired), however they’re claiming that they’ve MSI supply code.

They’re claiming that they’ve the framework that MSI makes use of to develop BIOS or firmware recordsdata, so in different phrases they’re implying that they’ve already bought the insider information they want to have the ability to construct firmware that will probably be in the correct format.

They usually say, “Additionally, now we have non-public keys.”

They’re inviting us to deduce that these non-public keys would permit them to signal any rogue firmware that they construct, which is sort of a worrying factor for MSI, who’ve type of gone down the center on this.

They admitted the breach; they’ve disclosed it to the regulator; they’ve disclosed it to regulation enforcement; and that’s just about all they’ve stated.

What they *have* carried out is give recommendation that we strongly advocate you observe anyway, particularly telling its clients:

Receive firmware or BIOS updates solely from MSI’s official web site, and don’t use recordsdata from sources apart from the official web site.

Now, we’d hope that you just wouldn’t go off-piste to go and get your self probably rogue firmware BLOBs anyway… as a few of our commenters have stated, “What do folks suppose after they do this?”

However previously, in case you couldn’t get them from MSI’s website, you might a minimum of maybe depend on validating the digital certificates by your self in case you favored.

So I believe you must say what you normally do about watching this house, Doug…

DOUG  Let’s regulate this one then, too!

And it begs the query from certainly one of our readers (I couldn’t have stated it higher myself) on the MSI story… Peter asks:

Might MSI not revoke the certificates that was used to signal the recordsdata?

So even when somebody did obtain a file that had been compromised, it could then fail the certificates verify?

Or does it not work like that?

DUCK  Nicely, it does work like that in *idea*, Doug.

However in case you simply blindly begin refusing anyone who’s already bought firmware that was signed with the now deprecated certificates, you do run the danger, basically, of getting individuals who have pretty much as good as “locked their keys within the automobile”, if you already know what I imply.

For instance, think about that you just simply go, “Proper! On each pc on this planet from tomorrow, any MSI firmware signed with this key that has been compromised (if the crooks are telling the reality) simply gained’t work. You’ll should get a brand new one.”

Nicely, how are you going besides up your pc to get on-line to get the brand new one? [LAUGHS]

DOUG  [LAUGHS] A slight downside!

DUCK  There may be that chicken-and-egg downside.

And this doesn’t simply apply to firmware… in case you’re too fast in blocking all people’s entry to recordsdata which might be reliable however had been signed with a certificates that has now change into untrustworthy, you do threat probably doing extra hurt than good.

You might want to go away a little bit of an overlap interval.

DOUG  Alright, wonderful query, and wonderful reply.

Thanks very a lot, Peter, for sending that in.

If in case you have an fascinating story, remark or query you’d prefer to submit, we’d like to learn it on the podcast.

You’ll be able to e-mail [email protected], you possibly can touch upon any certainly one of our articles, or you possibly can hit us up on social: @nakedsecurity.

That’s our present for at present; thanks very a lot for listening.

For Paul Ducklin, I’m Doug Aamoth, reminding you till subsequent time to…

BOTH  Keep safe!