Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 29th Oct 2017 17:44 UTC
Google

Two weeks ago, security researchers managed to disable the Intel Management Engine, and last week, Google held a talk at the Open Source Summit (née LinuxCon) in which they unveiled their plans to completely (well, almost completely) replace every bit of code between the operating system you know about (Windows, Linux, BSD, whatever) and the bare metal x86 processor (Intel-only, for now).

With the WikiLeaks release of the vault7 material, the security of the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware used in most PCs and laptops is once again a concern. UEFI is a proprietary and closed-source operating system, with a codebase almost as large as the Linux kernel, that runs when the system is powered on and continues to run after it boots the OS (hence its designation as a "Ring -2 hypervisor"). It is a great place to hide exploits since it never stops running, and these exploits are undetectable by kernels and programs.

Our answer to this is NERF (Non-Extensible Reduced Firmware), an open source software system developed at Google to replace almost all of UEFI firmware with a tiny Linux kernel and initramfs. The initramfs file system contains an init and command line utilities from the u-root project (http://u-root.tk/), which are written in the Go language.

Both the slides from the talk and the video are available.

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RE[2]: am i missing something
by FlyingJester on Mon 30th Oct 2017 20:34 UTC in reply to "RE: am i missing something"
FlyingJester
Member since:
2016-05-11

Why wouldn't you just put that into one of the existing (shipping) solutions, like Coreboot?

Reply Parent Score: 3

The1stImmortal Member since:
2005-10-20

Why wouldn't you just put that into one of the existing (shipping) solutions, like Coreboot?

Why wouldn't one put effort into improving an existing OS instead of worrying about that minor hobby one? Cos they can?
Also there seems to be a hardware purist streak amongst some of the existing projects and they might not be accepting of code handling the PSP/IME for political reasons.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[4]: am i missing something
by leech on Tue 31st Oct 2017 11:48 in reply to "RE[3]: am i missing something"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

The purism Librem laptops also disable the IME, and they use Coreboot, if I recall, so it's not just a Google thing, for sure.

Reply Parent Score: 0