RESEARCH | November 2, 2022

Exploring the security configuration of AMD platforms

TLDR: We present a new tool for evaluating the security of AMD-based platforms and rediscover a long-forgotten vulnerability class that allowed us to fully compromise SMM in the Acer Swift 3 laptop (see Acer’s advisory).


In the last decade, a lot of interesting research has been published around UEFI and System Management Mode (SMM) security. To provide a bit of background, SMM is the most privileged CPU mode on x86-based systems; it is sometimes referred to as ring -2 as it is more privileged than the kernel and even the hypervisor. Therefore, keeping SMM secure must be one of the main goals of the UEFI firmware.

One thing that caught our attention is that most, if not all, of the publicly available material is focused on Intel-based platforms. Since the release of CHIPSEC [1], the world has had a tool to quickly determine if the firmware does a good job protecting the system after the DXE phase and, as a result, it is hard to find misconfigured firmware in laptops from any of the major OEMs in 2022.