Two years ago, ransomware crooks breached hardware-maker Gigabyte and dumped more than 112 gigabytes of data that included information from some of its most important supply-chain partners, including Intel and AMD. Now researchers are warning that the leaked booty revealed what could amount to critical zeroday vulnerabilities that could imperil huge swaths of the computing world.
The vulnerabilities reside inside firmware that Duluth, Georgia-based AMI makes for BMCs, or baseband management controllers. These tiny computers soldered into the motherboard of servers allow cloud centers, and sometimes their customers, to streamline the remote management of vast fleets of computers. They enable administrators to remotely reinstall OSes, install and uninstall apps, and control just about every other aspect of the system—even when it's turned off. BMCs provide what’s known in the industry as “lights-out” system management.
Lights out forever
Researchers from security firm Eclypsium analyzed AMI firmware leaked in the 2021 ransomware attack and identified vulnerabilities that had lurked for years. They can be exploited by any local or remote attacker with access to an industry-standard remote-management interface known as Redfish to execute malicious code that will run on every server inside a data center.