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Join Viktor, a proud nerd and seasoned entrepreneur, whose academic journey at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley sparked a career marked by innovation and foresight. From his college days, Viktor embarked on an entrepreneurial path, beginning with YippieMove, a groundbreaking email migration service, and continuing with a series of bootstrapped ventures.

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Episode 14
Christian Walter

Unlocking Firmware Secrets with Christian Walter: BIOS Vulnerabilities & Security Insights

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30 JUN • 2024 1 hour 4 mins

In this episode of “Nerding Out with Viktor,” I sit down with Christian Walter from 9Elements, a top expert in firmware and IT security. With over six years of experience, Christian offers an insightful deep dive into the world of firmware, discussing some of the most critical issues facing the industry today.

We kick off with Christian’s background, his role at 9Elements leading the firmware development department, and his involvement with ventures like a company focused on firmware testing and the Open Source Firmware Foundation.

Christian explains recent high-profile firmware vulnerabilities, such as LogoFail and PixiFail, detailing their technical aspects and broader implications. We discuss the significant security challenges these vulnerabilities present and the urgent need for improved security measures in firmware.

Our conversation also covers the complexities of BIOS security. Christian highlights the reuse of code bases across vendors, the challenges in auditing, and the lengthy disclosure periods for firmware vulnerabilities.

Next, we delve into the world of Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs). Christian provides an overview of the different types of TPMs, their role in hardware security, and recent vulnerabilities, including how attackers could unseal Intel TPMs by reassigning pins from user space.

Christian also introduces the innovative Firmware CI project at 9Elements. This project aims to revolutionize firmware testing and validation by providing a user-friendly, scalable framework for continuous integration and testing on actual hardware. We discuss the importance of modern tooling in firmware development and how this project bridges the gap between traditional firmware practices and contemporary software development methodologies.

Towards the end of the episode, Christian talks about the mission of the Open Source Firmware Foundation and its efforts to unite the industry in advancing open-source firmware.

Tune in for an enlightening conversation packed with valuable insights for anyone passionate about IT security, hardware, and the future of firmware.

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