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Re: [Full-disclosure] Firewire Attack on Windows Vista

From: Tonnerre Lombard (tonnerre.lombardsygroup.ch)
Date: Thu Mar 06 2008 - 01:54:37 CST

Salut, Roger,

On Wed, 5 Mar 2008 16:30:35 -0500, Roger A. Grimes wrote:
> As somewhat indicated in the paper itself, these types of physical
> DMA attacks are possible against any PC-based OS, not just Windows.
> If that's true, why is the paper titled around Windows Vista?

That's very easy: because the specific attack was against Windows
Vista's activation mechanism.

The deficiencies of Firewire with regard to direct memory access have
been known for quite a while now. The purpose of the referenced attack
was specific to Windows Vista. It is of course also possible though to
steal GnuPG keys from the memory of a Solaris machine, of course,
that's in the nature of the beast, but this is not relevant to the
specific attack mentioned here.

May I also add that I am actually aware of patches from vendors which
can render this attack ineffective for most other OSes (Solaris, Linux,
etc.) - as far as I know, though, there is no such patch for Windows?
That might also be a reason why this attack was created and published
in the first place - like I said, the attack vector has been known for
ages now.

> [Disclaimer: I'm a full-time Microsoft employee.]

Hi there. ;-)

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