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UEFI Rootkits

Whether you are a cybersecurity expert or not, there are some security risks that every business leader needs to be aware of—and UEFI rootkits definitely fall into that category. These nasty computer viruses are uniquely dangerous to your computer systems because they do not get wiped out when you reformat your hard drive or reinstall your operating system. Instead, they stick around in your computer’s flash memory and pop right back up again when you try to start using the machine. It is important that everyone be aware of UEFI rootkits to minimize their spread and limit the damage they can do to your systems.

UEFI Basics

To understand what makes UEFI rootkits so difficult to deal with, you first need to understand the basics of how modern computers are set up. You have probably heard the term BIOS before. The basic input/output system was the firmware used for decades to start your computer up, among other functions. But in recent years BIOS was replaced by Unified Extensible Firmware Interface or UEFI. UEFI is also used to boot up your operating system, among other tasks. Because it needs to be able to start up everything else, UEFI resides in your flash memory—the same place that the UEFI rootkit resides once it infects your computer.

What UEFI Rootkits Do

The genius of the UEFI rootkit is that it is placed in the one area where you are unlikely to get rid of it using normal security measures. It infiltrates your UEFI on your flash memory. The specific location of the virus is ideal to keep it coming back again and again. The antivirus does not find it. Even wiping the hard drive does not touch it. Only a very targeted effort to remove it from your UEFI will eliminate the problem from your machine.

The Challenge of Getting Rid of a UEFI Rootkit

For most computer users, the basics of security begin with running antivirus and antimalware products. But the majority of these products will not even look at your UEFI, which means they are not going to find a UEFI rootkit. The next step, which is typically considered quite drastic, is to wipe your hard drive and reinstall your operating system. Almost every computer virus can be eliminated by taking this step. Once you wipe the hard drive, you wipe out the virus. Yes, you have to go through the inconvenience of reinstalling everything—which can be very inconvenient, depending on what your business computers have installed and the kind of work you are doing. But it is usually a surefire way to eliminate a virus.

What can be so frustrating for businesses is that even taking the drastic measure of wiping and reinstalling does not solve the problem. You can even swap out the hard drive and install a brand new hard drive. When you consider that applying all of these fixes could take days for companies with tens or even hundreds of computers, you can appreciate how maddening it would be to have the problem persist.

What Can Businesses Do to Prevent UEFI Rootkits?

There are a few things that businesses can do to prevent these nasty viruses from showing their ugly heads:

1. Educate those that need to know.

Whatever IT staff you have, even if it is just a computer-savvy employee that keeps things going smoothly, should be educated on UEFI rootkits. When people know about them, it becomes much easier to address the problem. If you have taken the normal steps to eliminate the virus and it keeps popping up, you could have a UEFI rootkit problem on your hands.

2. Consider getting new hardware if you do not have Secure Boot capabilities or something similar.

Secure Boot is a solution used on modern computer systems to prevent unauthorized access to the firmware. It requires that anything attempting to make a change to the computer’s firmware have a security code to make changes. If it does not have the security credentials, no changes can be made. Older machines do not have Secure Boot capabilities.

3. Verify that your Secure Boot configuration is properly set up.

Secure Boot is not a fix all. It does need to be properly configured to work as intended. Make sure that all of your Secure Boot systems are properly configured to prevent anyone from accessing your firmware when they should not.

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Elizabeth Mitrani
Elizabeth Mitrani
17:23 06 Aug 19
Palindrome Consulting was key in establishing my business and helps me keep it running. They are the consummate... professionals, incredibly knowledgeable and are always available to help. They have gone above and beyond to ensure that I was up and running quickly and that any issues that may arise on my end or dealt with immediately. I highly recommend Palindrome Consulting.read more
Moshe Rubinstein
Moshe Rubinstein
14:57 28 Jun 19
They are there every step of the way. Responsive and timely. The full service mentality mixed with the problem solving... abilities, is what makes them an easy choice.read more
Benjamin Wainberg
Benjamin Wainberg
14:09 28 Jun 19
Palindrome Consulting is customer centric. For Palindrome Data Safety is paramount; they keep their and our systems... updated with the newest technologies and are not shy at changing to better alternatives. Their platforms are always running and in the odd case there is an event, their technical team has an awesome response time.read more
Copier Man
Copier Man
13:56 28 Jun 19
We have been using Palindrome since 2005. They make my company feel like we are #1 all the time. Expert staff are... always available to help all my users all around the country.read more
Martin Feldman
Martin Feldman
16:43 26 Jun 19
As a partner in Fischer & Feldman, P.A. we have utilized Palindrome Consulting as our IT experts for many years. In... addition to keeping our server up and running, they are available to consult on the everchanging cloud and web landscape. We could not function as a successful law firm without their constant care, attention and almost IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TIME.read more
Rebecca Fischer
Rebecca Fischer
16:39 26 Jun 19
Palindrome has been my IT company for more than 15 years. We have been through four server and computer replacements... over the years all of which went smoothly. As technology has changed Palindrome has kept us current in their recommendations and are extremely responsive when we run into a software or hardware problem. We have been through hurricanes with Palindrome and felt confident they would have us up and running as quickly as possible and despite the fact we are probably a smaller client, they have treated us as one of their most important clients. I highly recommend Palindrome and have complete confidence in their capabilities and service. They have even gone the extra mile when we wanted to donate our old computers to a children's special needs school and delivered the computers, set them up and provided service for the same. Ilan Sredni is the consummate professional and has surrounded himself with top professionals and skilled technicians.read more
Nelson T
Nelson T
20:32 25 Jun 19
Palindrome Consulting has proven itself time and time again to be the epitome of professionalism and technical... expertise. They take the time to listen to your needs and then apply their wealth of technical knowledge to create truly innovative and robust solutions. They truly deliver piece of mind.read more
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