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Unified Extensible Firmware Interface

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Active Restore: Beginning UEFI development

Reading time12 min

This is a translation with minor changes from the original post according to advice from comments.

Hello, folks! We have studied the boot sequence of the Windows operating system as part of a project from Acronis with students of Innopolis University. You can find more about the project here and there. There was an idea to execute the logic even before the boot sequence of the OS. Therefore, we tried to write something just to try, for a smooth immersion in UEFI. In this article, we will go through the theory and practice to read and write to disk in a pre-OS environment.


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Total votes 2: ↑2 and ↓0+2

Active Restore: Can we Recover Faster? Much Faster?

Reading time5 min
Backing up valuable data is a proven practice, but what if we need to continue work immediately after a natural disaster or other disruptive events, and every minute is important? Our team at Acronis decided to see how quickly we can start an operating system. This is our first post from the Active Restore series. Today I will tell you how we launched our project with Innopolis University, which solutions were studied, and what we are working on today. All the details are under the Cut.

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Total votes 9: ↑8 and ↓1+13

Exploiting signed bootloaders to circumvent UEFI Secure Boot

Reading time6 min
Русская версия этой статьи.
Modern PC motherboards' firmware follow UEFI specification since 2010. In 2013, a new technology called Secure Boot appeared, intended to prevent bootkits from being installed and run. Secure Boot prevents the execution of unsigned or untrusted program code (.efi programs and operating system boot loaders, additional hardware firmware like video card and network adapter OPROMs).
Secure Boot can be disabled on any retail motherboard, but a mandatory requirement for changing its state is physical presence of the user at the computer. It is necessary to enter UEFI settings when the computer boots, and only then it's possible to change Secure Boot settings.

Most motherboards include only Microsoft keys as trusted, which forces bootable software vendors to ask Microsoft to sign their bootloaders. This process include code audit procedure and justification for the need to sign their file with globally trusted key if they want the disk or USB flash to work in Secure Boot mode without adding their key on each computer manually.
Linux distributions, hypervisors, antivirus boot disks, computer recovery software authors all have to sign their bootloaders in Microsoft.

I wanted to make a bootable USB flash drive with various computer recovery software that would boot without disabling Secure Boot. Let's see how this can be achieved.
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Total votes 25: ↑24 and ↓1+23

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