The DeepSec 2014 schedule features a presentation about (hidden) hypervisors in server BIOS environments. The research is based on a Russian analysis of a Malicious BIOS Loaded Hypervisor (conducted between 2007 and 2010) and studies published by the University of Michigan in 2005/2006 as well as 2012/2013. The latter publications discuss the capabilities of a Virtual-Machine Based Rootkits and Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) / Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) vulnerabilities. Out-of-band management is sensitive to attacks when not properly protected. In the case of IPMI and BMC the management components also play a role on the system itself since they can access the server hardware, being capable to control system resources.
Combining out-of-band components with a hypervisor offers ways to watch any operating system running on the server hardware. Or worse. It’s definitely something you can do without. The researcher investigated the published information and found indications of increased execution times of code running on different hardware. The talk will explain the set-up, the hardware being used, and will introduce a test framework enabling researcher to test (server) hardware for anomalies.
The complete research will be published after the talk in a comprehensive article describing the work. We highly recommend attending the presentation.