AfterDawn: Tech news

Secure boot requirement for Windows 8 could affect Linux installations

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 22 Sep 2011 9:21 User comments (4)

Secure boot requirement for Windows 8 could affect Linux installations Security measure could impact on Linux dual-boot options.
In order for a PC to be sold bearing a "Designed for Windows 8" logo, it must ship with secure booting (enabled by UEFI) enabled. This could pose problems for users who wish to install (an unsigned) open-source operating system.

For most users, the solution would simply be to disable the secure booting in the UEFI settings. That will not effect Windows 8 booting. However, this does mean that the hardware vendor is responsible for making it possible to disable the security feature.

Why protect the bootpath? In recent years, malware authors have resorted to attacking the bootpath to get around security features in Windows. As an example, the TDL-4 rootkit utilizes a bootkit to disable the Windows kernel mode code signing policy of the 64-bit version of Windows 7.

The only airtight way to counter the threat is to protect the bootpath by requiring that all firmware and software involved in the boot process have been signed by a CA. Google has done the same thing with its Chromebooks to avoid bootpath attacks. Google mandates that a Chromebook feature a physical switch (under the battery component) which would allow it to be disabled.

In most cases, this shouldn't be a problem for users who buy PCs and want to have a second OS boot option, but really it depends on the OEM.

Tags: Windows 8
Previous Next  

4 user comments

122.9.2011 12:53

So I guess I don't fully understand. So the hardware vendor gets some special signed license to be able to disable the protected boot. if you build your own computer then do you have to get a certain license or what if you want to dual boot Linux

222.9.2011 13:06

Originally posted by KSib:
So I guess I don't fully understand. So the hardware vendor gets some special signed license to be able to disable the protected boot. if you build your own computer then do you have to get a certain license or what if you want to dual boot Linux
If you build your own system you won't need to worry about it at all.

Here's an excellent blog post explaining it: http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/5552.html

322.9.2011 16:36

Building your own system doesn't work so well if you want a laptop.


422.9.2011 16:50

Originally posted by nonoitall:
Building your own system doesn't work so well if you want a laptop.
^^ lol was just thinking that

~*Livin' Electronicallly*~

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive