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Firmware is the threat

by on18 March 2014

Canonical boss warns about proprietary code

Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth wants everyone to abandon proprietary firmware code because it is a “threat vector.”

Writing in his blog, Shuttleworth said that manufacturers are too incompetent, and hackers too good for security-by-obscurity in firmware to ever work. Any firmware code running on your phone, tablet, PC, TV, wifi router, washing machine, server, or the server running the cloud your SaaS app is running on is a threat, he said.

“Arguing for ACPI on your next-generation device is arguing for a trojan horse of monumental proportions to be installed in your living room and in your data centre. I’ve been to Troy, there is not much left,” he moaned.

Shuttleworth wants the industry to use Linux and avoid firmware that has executable code. He writes: “Declarative firmware that describes hardware linkages and dependencies but doesn’t include executable code is the best chance we have of real bottom-up security.”

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