Published in PC Hardware

Gigabyte's hidden code is a security risk

by on01 June 2023

Eclypsium warns that it is a gift for hackers 

Hidden code in hundreds of models of Gigabyte motherboards is a gift for hackers wanting to install malicious programs in a computer's UEFI firmware, according to security outfit Eclypsium.

Eclypsium said that Gigabyte had installed its own hidden backdoor in the firmware of millions of computers and did not lock it.  The company discovered a hidden mechanism in the firmware of motherboards sold by Gigabyte, whose components are commonly used in gaming PCs and other high-performance computers. Whenever a computer with the affected Gigabyte motherboard restarts, Eclypsium found, code within the motherboard's firmware invisibly initiates an updater program that runs on the computer and in turn downloads and executes another piece of software.

While Eclypsium says the hidden code is meant to be an innocuous tool to keep the motherboard's firmware updated, researchers found that it's implemented insecurely, potentially allowing the mechanism to be hijacked and used to install malware instead of Gigabyte's intended program. And because the updater program is triggered from the computer's firmware, outside its operating system, it's tough for users to remove or even discover.

Eclypsium's John Loucaides said: "If you have one of these machines, you have to worry about the fact that it's basically grabbing something from the internet and running it without you being involved, and hasn't done any of this securely. The concept of going underneath the end user and taking over their machine doesn't sit well with most people."


Last modified on 01 June 2023
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