Rakshasa Case Study: Really Undetectable?

By Jay Pfoutz
Editor

Apparently, the new showy security threat is Rakshasa… At Black Hat Las Vegas, this new security technique was unveiled.

This new malware by researcher Jonathan Brossard is apparently ‘impossible to disinfect’.

Now, FIRST OF ALL!! – Anything created with man’s hands can be destroyed. I’d like to see this opinion last: undetectable, can’t be disinfected, etc.

The paper on Rakshasa can be found here. It describes a hardware backdoor. Unbeknownst to this artist researcher, companies like Kaspersky or ESET have already begun to craft hardware antivirus drivers. So, this backdoor hardware malware scheme is a bit late, but maybe just in time, too.

Will it be used? Who knows. That’s the scary part!

It is realistically a BIOSkit, a rootkit that infects the BIOS of the computer. What’s wrong with this…? It can be easily disinfected by flashing all of the devices of the computer, which apparently would be infected.

However, this malware has not been tested in an enterprise-based beta, which means just because it worked on a couple of machines does not mean it would work on any other computer. Impressive? Yes! But, not at all scary, yet.

What makes me more shocked, is that people will actually believe that this malware will not be able to be disinfected. But, this is the turnaround: it can be! This is nothing more than a BIOSkit, and we have seen BIOSkits removed in our leagues many times.

But, then again, people commonly believe rootkits are impossible to be removed too. Look…we proved them wrong!

By inflicting code signing for BIOS, just like all other hardware driver signing, can easily keep it blocked. Also, if BitLocker evolves in Windows 8 and further technologies, it could easily secure the OS. Also, things like device encryption, could be taken to a new level.

This is not a new vulnerability, and Brossard agrees.

I’m sure we’ll have more on this story as it develops in the future. Stay tuned to seCURE Connexion!

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About Jay Pfoutz

Full time computer security consultant
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