One of the security experts has already shown how easy one can hack your way past controversial boot-up security of the new Windows 8 OS and gain root access.An independent developer and security analyst Peter Kleissner from Austria is planning to release the first known “bootkit” for Microsoft’s new OS. The bootkit is able to load from a hard drive’s master boot record and remain in computer’s memory all the time during the startup of the Windows 8, thus providing root access to the operating system.
Boot loader developed for Windows 8 is specifically designed to stop malware and security breaches. This includes measures demanding that any software loaded at boot time has to be authenticated with a valid digital signature. Microsoft developers believe that this would protect the PC from malware, as it would block any unsigned applications from loading into PC’s memory before startup. However, this feature angered open-saucers who believe that it was designed with the intention to kill Linux distributions like Red Hat and Ubuntu that don’t have a digital signature.
Peter Kleissner explained that his exploit defeats the security features of the new Boot Loader of the Microsoft’s OS, which has angered open-saucers because of the suspicion that it will prevent them from running dual booted systems. He has also pointed out that the exploit in question didn’t actually target the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, but rather went after legacy BIOS. Kleissner is going to share his findings with the Microsoft developers.
The Austrian security expert is known for his Stoned bootkit which is recognized as a proof-of-concept exploit able to attack Windows XP, Vista, 7, and even Windows Server 2003. The bootkit could even install itself into the Windows kernel and thus get unrestricted access to the whole system. This also worked with systems having encrypted drives.
The expert explained that his bootkit Stoned Lite features an infector file of just 14kb, which could be started from a USB drive or CD. Peter Kleissner is also thinking about adding in some in-memory patching, which could allow him to change the password validation routine in Microsoft’s OS in order to accept any password as if they were valid for an account. So, Windows 8 has been hacked even before its release.