Bricking or Implanting Servers: Not as Hard as You Think! presented at ekopartySecurityConference 2018

by Alex Michael,

Summary : In an age of cloud, containers, and serverless computing, it’s easy to forget that real hardware runs underneath these layers of abstraction. Server security is a critical foundation that everything else is built on top of. But what happens when that foundation is compromised? Servers are typically managed using Baseband Management Controller (BMC) . The BMC can be used to manage, wipe, and reinstall servers remotely. It can even flash BIOS/UEFI firmware remotely when the system won’t boot. But what happens if we can compromise the BMC also? In this talk we will walk through the discovery and exploitation of multiple vulnerabilities in server firmware. We will demonstrate attacks that brick servers in ways that cannot be recovered, even through out-of-band BMC mechanisms. Then, we will discuss detection and mitigation options that can be applied to infrastructure to defend against such attacks.