Taiwanese hardware giant Gigabyte has issued a patch for a security flaw that allowed threat actors to push malware through the device’s firmware. In total, more than 270 motherboard models were affected by the flaw.
Less than a week ago, cybersecurity researchers from Eclypsium reported finding a flaw in how the motherboards handled firmware updates. The devices had a hidden mechanism that quietly runs an updater program that connects to a remote server, and downloads and runs software.
The updater was said to have been implemented insecurely, potentially allowing threat actors to hijack it and have it download and install malware. As this would put the malware in the motherboard’s firmware, it would persist even after the hard drive was replaced.
Soon after the news broke, Gigabyte released a fix, addressing firmware updates for Intel 400/500/600/700 and AMD 400/500/600 series motherboards.
"To fortify system security, GIGABYTE has implemented stricter security checks during the operating system boot process. These measures are designed to detect and prevent any possible malicious activities, providing users with enhanced protection,” the company said in an announcement.
This enhanced protection includes signature verification and privilege access limitations. That means that the files being downloaded through the updater will be checked for integrity and legitimacy, making it more difficult to abuse the tool to drop malware. Furthermore, the updater now features standard cryptographic verification of remote server certificates, guaranteeing the files are only downloaded from pre-approved servers.
Even though the risk of the flaw being abused to drop malware is relatively small, Gigabyte still advises all of its users to apply the latest firmware as soon as possible. Those who would rather remove the company’s auto-update feature should turn off the “APP Center Download & Install Configuration” setting in the BIOS, and then uninstall the software in Windows, BleepingComputer writes.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.