Are you absolutely sure that you and only YOU, who controls your computer? There are a number of online threats lurking around, the most notorious of which have the ability to take over your system. Firmware rootkits are the most prominent of these threats. In case you didn’t know, the firmware is the code that governs your computer system’s booting.
If malicious components in the firmware permit the malware created by the attacker and protect it from any blocking attempts initiated by the operating system, the malware would do its job smoothly. The malicious firmware components happen to be extremely tough and can survive the most advanced security measures. Rebooting the system, reinstalling the operating software and even replacing the hard drive does not help.
Here are some of the measures that can be taken in this regard to remove the firmware:
To incorporate genuine tamper-proofing, a computer needs to have a number of security measures, for example, sensors to detect any attempt at physically tampering and a self-destructing mechanism to wipe off the device’s encryption key. However, these computers are more expensive than any conventional computers with similar performance.
Using Bootable DVDs
An alternative step that can be taken is to, remove the hard drive and use external storage for booting. The external storage whether it’s a flash disk or DVD is easier to be kept safe as compared to the computer itself.
The overall security of the system can be substantially improved, with specialized tools that keep the integrity of the system in check on a routine basis, which can include the contents of the hard disk as well as the installed applications.
Even though the solutions currently in use, provided by the established security vendors offer ample protection. Some security products do not deliver despite making tall claims, for instance, most claim their protection to be “signature-less” and based on machine learning. However, no security solution uses specific signatures. Instead, generic detections are used to detect different kinds of malware, while machine learning solutions have been widely implemented for decades.
Depending on the operating system’s built-in security features
Theoretically, security features that are integrated with the operating system, should offer maximum protection for the computer and should be bug-free. However, none of it works practically. Bugs are continually found and built-in security features usually fail to protect the systems. Therefore, with vulnerabilities inherently present in the basic protection, depending solely on it may not be a wise move.
Introducing Robust Policies
The worst computer security practices such as not patching the system, not updating the system, and clicking on suspicious links while operating as an administrator are quite common. Such reckless users and their carefree behaviors are responsible for paving the way for opportunist hackers and thus, fueling cybercrime. The situation can be deterred with robust policies aimed at responsible use of the corporate resources and enforcing the SOPs while reprimanding those who violate signified procedures via fines or other disciplinary measures.