A number of firmware security flaws uncovered in HP’s business-oriented high-end notebooks continue to be left unpatched in some devices even months after public disclosure.
Firmware flaws can have serious implications as they can be abused by an adversary to achieve long-term persistence on a device in a manner that can survive reboots and evade traditional operating system-level security protections.
The high-severity weaknesses identified by Binarly affect HP EliteBook devices and concern a case of memory corruption in the System Management Mode of the firmware, thereby enabling the execution of arbitrary code with the highest privileges -.
It’s worth noting that CVE-2022-23930 is also one of the 16 security flaws that were previously flagged earlier this February as impacting several enterprise models from HP. SMM, also called “Ring -2,” is a special-purpose mode used by the firmware for handling system-wide functions such as power management, hardware interrupts, or other proprietary original equipment manufacturer designed code.
“In many cases firmware is a single point of failure between all the layers of the supply chain and the endpoint customer device,” Binarly said, adding, “Fixing vulnerabilities for a single vendor is not enough.”
“As a result of the complexity of the firmware supply chain, there are gaps that are difficult to close on the manufacturing end since it involves issues beyond the control of the device vendors.”