Intel's Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) Train To The Hell

Abstract


Intel's Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI), which is implemented and added onto by all server vendors, grant system administrators with a means to manage their hardware in an Out of Band (OOB) or Lights Out Management (LOM) fashion. However there are a series of design, utilization, and vendor issues that cause complex, pervasive, and serious security infrastructure problems.

The BMC is an embedded computer on the motherboard that implements IPMI; it enjoys an asymmetrical relationship with its host, with the BMC able to gain full control of memory and I/O, while the server is both blind and impotent against the BMC. Compromised servers have full access to the private IPMI network

The BMC uses reusable passwords that are infrequently changed, widely shared among servers, and stored in clear text in its storage. The passwords may be disclosed with an attack on the server, over the network network against the BMC, or with a physical attack against the motherboard (including after the server has been decommissioned.)

IT's reliance on IPMI to reduce costs, the near-complete lack of research, 3rd party products, or vendor documentation on IPMI and the BMC security, and the permanent nature of the BMC on the motherboard make it currently very difficult to defend, fix or remediate against these issues.

Author: Dan Farmer
28 January 2013
Source and full article:
http://fish2.com/ipmi/itrain.html

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