Vulnerability in Intel SPI allows attackers to erase or modify the BIOS or UEFI

Intel has addressed vulnerability in the configuration of several CPU series that allow an attacker to alter the behavior of the chip’s SPI Flash memory, a mandatory component used during the boot-up process, information security researchers said.

According to Lenovo analysts, who recently deployed the Intel fixes, “the configuration of the system firmware device (SPI flash) could allow an attacker to block BIOS/UEFI updates, or to selectively erase or corrupt portions of the firmware.”

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Lenovo researchers say “this would most likely result in a visible malfunction, but could in rare circumstances result in arbitrary code execution.”

Intel deployed fixes for this vulnerability (CVE-2017-5703) on April. The chipset maker says the following CPU series utilize unsafe opcodes that allow local attackers to take advantage of this security vulnerability:

  • 8th generation Intel® Core™ Processors
  • 7th generation Intel® Core™ Processors
  • 6th generation Intel® Core™ Processors
  • 5th generation Intel® Core™ Processors
  • Intel® Pentium® and Celeron® Processor N3520, N2920, and N28XX
  • Intel® Atom™ Processor x7-Z8XXX, x5-8XXX Processor Family
  • Intel® Pentium™ Processor J3710 and N37XX
  • Intel® Celeron™ Processor J3XXX
  • Intel® Atom™ x5-E8000 Processor
  • Intel® Pentium® Processor J4205 and N4200
  • Intel® Celeron® Processor J3455, J3355, N3350, and N3450
  • Intel® Atom™ Processor x7-E39XX Processor
  • Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors
  • Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 v6 Family
  • Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 v5 Family
  • Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 v4 Family
  • Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 v3 Family
  • Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 v2 Family
  • Intel® Xeon® Phi™ Processor x200
  • Intel® Xeon® Processor D Family
  • Intel® Atom™ Processor C Series

The bug has received a severity score of 7.9 out of 10 on the CVSSv3 scale. Intel said it discovered the issue internally.

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“Issue is root-caused, and the mitigation is known and available,” the company said in a security advisory. “To Intel’s knowledge, the issue has not been seen externally.”

As per information security experts comment, Intel has released updates that PC and motherboard vendors are expected to deploy as firmware patches or BIOS/UEFI updates.

If your system has a processor mentioned above, check the website of the manufacturer of your computer or board to obtain the update that solves the problem.

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