Boot Process Attacks

Popularity:

10

Simplicity:

7

Impact:

10

Risk Rating:

9

Being mainly a software process, the boot process is easier to attack than hardwarelevel components. But because boot processes differ vastly, attacking the process generally requires knowing the target platform specifically. Each step during the boot process is a potential target whose software bugs are exploited in order to inject malicious code that will corrupt part of the system, thus giving the attacker an advantage.

This kind of attack was, for example, implemented on the Microsoft Xbox gaming systems in order to break the specific sequence of components used to lock Microsoft's code into the machine. The goal of the attack was to boot an alternative operating system or play games obtained illegally. The Xbox boot process was broken by deciphering a secret ROM that contained critical code, including code verifying the integrity of various components.

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