Feeds

Researchers unpick Vista kernel protection

From boot kit to 'root kit'

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Security researchers have found a way to subvert the load-up procedure for Windows Vista and bypass its code-signing security checks.

Indian researchers Nitin and Vipin Kumar of NV labs have developed a tool called VBoot kit, a custom boot sector loader, which launches from a CD. Once loaded, the tool allows hackers to make system changes on pre-release versions of Vista, something that only Microsoft-signed code is supposed to be able to do.

Vista's booting process fails to check that every previously loaded component is kosher. The Kumar brothers exploited this design "feature" to craft their proof-of-concept code. VBoot kit can copy itself to a section of memory before Vista boots, so bypassing restrictions that should prevent unsigned code running with system (kernel) privileges.

The code, developed on a beta version of Vista, was demonstrated during a presentation at last week's Black Hat conference in Amsterdam.

Heise Security reports that a complex debugging process, involving finding the memory areas vBoot kit needed to load onto, was needed to get the exploit to work. Adapting the code to work on later versions of Vista would involve a similar, time-consuming process.

The attack does not lend itself immediately toward the creation of root kits that work on the final Vista build. Even so, the Kumars' work illustrates fundamental design weaknesses the researchers reckon can only be fully addressed by using TPM (Trusted Platform Module) hardware to stop unsigned program code from being executed. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.