MIT Panel Discusses Proprietary Firmware As Security Risk For Bitcoin Users

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The 2019 MIT Bitcoin Expo happened over the weekend, and the event featured a panel discussion around blockchain attack vectors and bitcoin security. This panel was moderated by Arwen CEO Sharon Goldberg, and the panelists were Bitcoin Core contributor Cory Fields, Digital Currency Initiative Undergraduate Researcher James Lovejoy, and Chaincode Labs Software Engineer Carl Dong. Bugs at the Lower Levels During a conversation around specific vulnerabilities that have popped up in the cryptocurrency space over the years, Dong pointed out that people need to be on the lookout for bugs in areas other than cryptocurrency-related software. Specifically, Dong noted that bugs in things like Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), Intel Management Engine (ME), and Intelligent Platform Management Interfaces (IPMIs) could be exploited in an attempt to do something like steal someone else’s bitcoin stash. This type of low-level software resides underneath the operating systems installed on computers. “They basically have more than kernel access — more than root access to your entire machine. And so yeah, I think people should look at that,” explained Dong. Dong added that efforts have been made to push back against proprietary firmware via alternatives like coreboot. “I think the kernel protects processes from accessing each other’s memories, and if you have basically more than kernel access to memory, then you can basically be able to read anything that’s on there. And I think that’s bad,” explained Dong. Bitcoin Needs a Secure Base This whole discussion brought up a key issue with Bitcoin, which is…
Source: MIT Panel Discusses Proprietary Firmware As Security Risk For Bitcoin Users

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