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NSA establishes new safety guidelines for UESI

UEFI has some weaknesses to remain aware of

Green and Grey Circuit Board

UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is a tech standard, part of the newest mobile and hardware devices for better performance and flexible architecture. Chances are if you’re using a new smartphone, mobile device, and/or PC, it uses UEFI.

Danger is inherent to new things, however. Attackers do target UEFI firmware, and it’s easy to overlook this critical security step since UEFI is so ingrained into what we use. So, to combat these attack waves, the NSA recently published new guidelines for proper UEFI safety protocol standards.

The problem

According to the NSA, hackers attempt to circumvent security settings during a system startup. Typically UEFI has a built-in feature known as “secure boot.” Additionally, most anti-virus platforms run on boot as well. Normally, this is enough to prevent serious malware threats from causing system damage.

However, the problem begins when lapses in the “secure boot” feature occur. This is caused by validation issues, forcing the secure boot feature to disable or function improperly. Those vulnerabilities are what malicious third parties want to exploit. Once done, they can deliver their malware payload on boot without fear of discovery by anti-virus methods.

Customizing UEFI

In order to counter these threats, the NSA strongly recommends customizing UEFI boot options. That’s because an organization’s need is always different. This is the same for individuals, who are also vulnerable.

Customizing boot options is therefore the best way to address hackers and their attempts to compromise boot security. There are different ways to do this, but the NSA initially recommends shifting any machine to UEFI native mode. This allows UEFI to be customized and keeps firmware updated to prevent secure boot from being compromised. 

You can access the full resource here.

Need assistance?

A lot of this sounds overwhelming (and it can be). Therefore, if you still need help setting up UEFI or dealing with potential hijackers, Bytagig is here to help. Contact us today for additional information. 

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