NSA Malware for BIOS attacks

Senior Advisor

NSA Malware for BIOS attacks

 

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/16/nsa_alleges_bios_plot_to_destroy_pcs/

 

Un-named PC maker sought help to defeat un-named nation's PC-bricking plan

1 REPLY 1
Superuser

Re: NSA Malware for BIOS attacks

Hello,

 

As far as I understand, it is not possible to fully destroy computers via BIOS-wrecking, even if the physical EEPROM chip is inseparably soldered onto the motherboard.

 

That's because every BIOS has a read-only "brain stem" area. It is a very primitive function: if the BIOS "main mass" does not boot for whatever reason, start reading the first and only file on the floppy disk and overwrite the BIOS with it.

 

Of course, the end-user or service tech guy would have to get the correct .rom or .hex file from the manufacturer's website to be able to do this revival trick (and maybe also obtain a USB-port floppy drive for use the more modern computers that lack a built-in FDD, as I don't know if the BIOS "brain stem" function includes support for optical drives or pendrives).

 

Best Regards: Tamas Feher, Hungary.