why not modularize onboard gpu / audio / lan?

Myclrental

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Feb 21, 2017
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Does anyone else believe onboard/integrated gpu/audio/lan provide vectors of vulnerability that might otherwise be mitigated through modular design offering hardware component removal/replacement?

Configuration options in BIOS are still afterall just software switches, and if BIOS is compromised/circumvented then only assured remedy may be component removal or replacement.

I came across motherboard offering capability of bios chip replacement, seems same could be done for other chips too?

My tinfoil hat and I have struggled with perceived if not real compromises with bios chip on two Dell 830 laptops, the Realtek audio chip on a VelocityMicro desktop, onboard Intel gpu and Xenon processor-based WIDI of Dell Precision workstation and something (forget what) re: Dell Optiplex desktop.

 

WyomingKnott

Legenda in Aeternum
"I came across motherboard offering capability of bios chip replacement, seems same could be done for other chips too?" Probably not. Network chip A and network chip b are probably not pin-compatible.

What is the vulnerability that you perceive? Chips delivered with onboard malware?
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Configuration options in BIOS are still afterall just software switches,
No, there is a LOT of code behind those 'switches'. That stuff doesn't just appear by magic.

Has your hat come across any real compromises in GPU or LAN chips, that could have been fixed by a chip replacement?
 

Myclrental

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Feb 21, 2017
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to first response, Well sure, a chip to pin variation is to be expected, hence pci to pciex, dimm3 to dim4, or 4thgen w/socket 1155 vs 5thgen is 1150... (sorry if wrong off top of my head but you get the point).

to second response,,, complexity of code behind Bios config settings has shown to be circumventable and/or vulnerable to non-fixable impairement.

my primary concern is around compromised firmware and low-level system software related to the componts, how this particular software gets compromised and how I've perceived suspect vulnerabilities I'll have to get back to you when i have a keyboard for more thoughtful response vs my single-finger typing on a crappy tablet as I install Kubuntu on my desktop for the first time.
 

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