Author Topic: Firmware and Flash Memory Viral Assaults  (Read 2978 times)

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jopower

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Firmware and Flash Memory Viral Assaults
« on: August 01, 2005, 05:41:13 AM »
I'm very curious about the ability of infections to get into the various firmware and flash chips embedded in Hard, CD and DVD drives, and modems, BIOS, etc.

(What is Firmware? A category of memory chips that hold their content without electrical power and include ROM, PROM, EPROM and EEPROM technologies. Firmware becomes "hard software" when holding program code.)

Specifically, I've had intermittent problems with installing OS's to PC's and having the whole thing wiped out after one of the immediate reboots. In most cases the BIOS anti-virus warning pops-up asking if the attempted boot sector write is expected. All boot disks and install CD's are coming up clean after a "thorough" scan by Avast! (and Norton and Fprot command line versions, among others). Of course, no AVware seems to be scanning the firmware or flash chips. The hard drives often require FDISK /MBR to make them functional again.

If it helps any, I've found that USB, ect. memory cards can be infected by or carry virii like any other storage media.

Also see: http://lists.bilkent.edu.tr/cih/alert.htm
http://www3.ca.com/securityadvisor/glossary.aspx


Any ideas on this particular bit of nastiness?  :-\
« Last Edit: August 01, 2005, 06:03:03 AM by jopower »