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Tuesday, 07 May 2019 05:21

CrowdStrike endpoint platform can now detect firmware attacks

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CrowdStrike endpoint platform can now detect firmware attacks Image by konstantinzvor from Pixabay

American security firm CrowdStrike has announced it is integrating the ability to detect firmware attacks in its endpoint protection product Falcon, a first of sorts.

In a statement, the company said modern security tools had concentrated on detecting attacks at the operating system level and above. They provided little visibility into lower levels of computing platforms and attackers, looking to maintain stealth and persistence, had targeted the BIOS.

This type of infection was difficult to detect and could persist across reboots and reinstallation of the operating system, the company said.

Such malicious firmware updates could be delivered though standard intrusion techniques, such as spear-phishing, or come pre-installed on a machine via attacks on the supply chain, CrowdStrike said.

"As supply chain attacks from nation-states and other cyber criminals persist in plaguing organisations and government agencies, continuous monitoring and enhanced detection below the OS-level is necessary for improved IT hygiene," it said.

CrowdStrike said Falcon would be the first endpoint protection platform to provide visibility into these threats.

Falcon works by collecting details on BIOS images and configuration, and delivers enterprise-wide firmware visibility via the cloud-native Falcon Platform console.

The platform integrates with Dell SafeBIOS to enable enhanced detection for BIOS/firmware based threats on Dell systems.

“Today’s persistent nation-state actors have already begun migrating to BIOS attacks as their next preferred environment for persistence and malicious control of systems," said Alex Ionescu, vice-president of EDR strategy at CrowdStrike.

"With security researchers and companies around the world showcasing various attacks against Intel Boot Guard, Secure Boot, Intel CSME, AMD PSP and other core platform security technologies, it’s only a matter of time until such techniques become commoditised by an even wider spectrum of attackers .

“As a leading cyber security company at the forefront of security research, CrowdStrike remains dedicated to providing our customers both firmware and hardware-level visibility into these vulnerabilities and attacks even before they have a chance to take off – and perhaps to even discover dormant threats that had so far been unseen.”

CrowdStrike plans to release the results of its research, as well as the technology it uses to capture firmware data, at future cyber security conferences.

In 2016, CrowdStrike was in the news after it was called in following the breach of servers belonging to the Democrat National Committee. The company is yet to issue a detailed explanation of its role in that incident.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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