Firmware vulnerabilities highlight IoT's major weakness

11th May 2017
Posted By : Alice Matthews
Firmware vulnerabilities highlight IoT's major weakness

It has recently come to light that there is a massive flaw in Intel chips that allows hackers to remotely takeover large number of devices without even needing to enter a password. Cesare Garlati, Chief Security Strategist, prpl Foundation, commented on the importance of securing the firmware in IoT devices: "Firmware vulnerabilities are the most dangerous because by definition firmware is 'persistent'. The software that is built in to the device is the first code executed at boot, so exploits attacking this software layer make all other security measures pointless.

"In addition, firmware can't really be 'patched' - it needs to be completely replaced with a new version (aka re-flashed) with the risk of bricking the device, or making it useless for good.

"Manufacturers rarely provide new firmware versions and even when they do, there is no automatic alert system to inform end users of its availability. From computers to home gateways, from mobile devices to cars, drones, and industrial Ethernet-to-serial converters, firmware is a cause a major concern. That is why prpl's members have developed the prplSecurity Framework, a comprehensive set of open source APIs, based on hardware virtualisation, Physical Unclonable Functions and Root of Trust, that minimises the attack surface and drastically mitigates risks associated with embedded software in general - and firmware in particular."

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