[coreboot] SPI controller and Lock bits

Nico Huber nico.h at gmx.de
Sat Sep 29 17:57:49 CEST 2018

On 9/28/18 1:30 AM, Peter Stuge wrote:
> Youness Alaoui wrote:
>> avoid any malware writing to the flash
> Just disallow flash writes by the platform. Allow flash writes only
> by dedicated hardware (maybe ChromeEC?) which implements a simple and
> efficient security protocol.

It's not as easy as you might think. You are looking forward to an
additional flash chip at least because the ME needs direct access to
a SPI flash (you could try to route that through the EC as well, but
that would be everything but simple). Then your customers might ask
for suspend-to-RAM, for which you need to cache memory-training data
somewhere. You can't authenticate this data to the EC. That's solvable
too, ofc. But there might be more pitfalls. And I'm not convinced that
you'd end up with a simpler solution than your host firmware flipping
a bit at the right point in time.

> Looking for a software solution is IMO like Intel trying to secure SMM.

No matter if you run it on the EC or the host processor, it will be a
software solution. You can make things simpler with a dedicated control-
ler, right. But if you succeed still depends on the skills of software
developers. ECs can be attacked too (especially if they have a host
interface for software updates).


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