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Google developing a way to detect malware on your system firmware


Google is updating VirusTotal, their file scanning utility to check if your system firmware (commonly called BIOS or UEFI) is infected with viruses.

Firmware malware has been a hot topic ever since Edward Snowden’s leaks revealed NSA’s efforts to infect BIOS firmware. However, BIOS malware is no longer something exclusive to the NSA, as there are now groups producting exploits for systems. These are examples of why the security industry should put some focus on this strain of malware.

To all effects BIOS is a firmware which loads into memory at the beginning of the boot process, its code is on a flash memory chip soldered onto the mainboard. Since the BIOS boots a computer and helps load the operating system, by infecting it attackers can deploy malware that survives reboots, system wiping and reinstallations, and since antiviruses are not scanning this layer, the compromise can fly under the radar.

scan Luckily, our file was clean. Source: Google VirusTotal

Google is now allowing users to upload copies of firmware files onto their site and it will scan them and report if there is anything malicious found inside.

For the time being you must already have a image file of the firmware to test, but Google has said the next version will allow you to check your own system firmware.

This is a big step forward in a more total security solution.  Obviously we would recommend this tool being used in addition to a more traditional real time scanner (such as Bullguard, Norton etc) to keep your system clean.

Source: VirusTotal Blog

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