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LWN.net is a comprehensive source of news and opinions from and about the Linux community. This is the main LWN.net feed, listing all articles which are posted to the site front page.
Updated: 2 hours 46 min ago

Security updates for Tuesday

6 hours 14 min ago
Security updates have been issued by Debian (libx11, webkit2gtk, and zabbix), Fedora (webkit2gtk3), openSUSE (claws-mail, ghostscript, and targetcli-fb), Red Hat (dbus, kpatch-patch, postgresql-jdbc, and python-pillow), Scientific Linux (libvncserver and postgresql-jdbc), SUSE (kernel and python-rtslib-fb), and Ubuntu (ghostscript, sqlite3, squid3, and webkit2gtk).

Linux Foundation announces Open Source Security Foundation

Monday 3rd of August 2020 08:14:40 PM
The Linux Foundation has announced the formation of the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF). The foundation aims to improve the security of open source software. "The OpenSSF brings together the industry’s most important open source security initiatives and the individuals and companies that support them. The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), founded in response to the 2014 Heartbleed bug, and the Open Source Security Coalition, founded by the GitHub Security Lab, are just a couple of the projects that will be brought together under the new OpenSSF. The Foundation’s governance, technical community and its decisions will be transparent, and any specifications and projects developed will be vendor agnostic. The OpenSSF is committed to collaboration and working both upstream and with existing communities to advance open source security for all."

[$] Some statistics from the 5.8 kernel cycle

Monday 3rd of August 2020 06:34:09 PM
Linus Torvalds released the 5.8 kernel on August 2, concluding another nine-week development cycle. By the time the work was done, 16,306 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline repository for this release. That happens to be a record, beating the previous record holder (4.9, released in December 2016) by 92 changesets. It was, in other words, a busy development cycle. It's time for our traditional look into where that work came from to see what might be learned.

Julia 1.5 has been released

Monday 3rd of August 2020 05:30:00 PM
Version 1.5 of the Julia programming language has been released. On the Julia blog, Jeff Bezanson and Stefan Karpinski describe the highlights of the release, which includes struct layout improvements for decreasing heap allocations, stabilization of the multithreading API, faster random numbers, changes to the scoping rules in the read-eval-print loop (REPL), and more. "Julia excels at simulations, so random numbers are important to a lot of users of the language. For this release Rafael Fourquet, one of the primary architects of the Random standard library and a prolific contributor in general, implemented some impressive algorithmic improvements for some popular cases. The first is a major improvement when generating normally-distributed double-precision floats. Calling randn(1000) is nearly twice as fast in Julia 1.5 compared with Julia 1.4. Generating random booleans also got much faster: rand(Bool, 1000) is nearly 6x faster. Finally, sampling from discrete collections has also gotten faster: rand(1:100, 1000) got 25% faster." LWN looked at Julia (part 1, part 2) back in 2018, shortly after the release of Julia 1.0.

Debian 10.5 released

Monday 3rd of August 2020 02:56:24 PM
Debian 10 "buster" received a fifth update. In addition to the usual security and bug fixes, this point release addresses Debian Security Advisory: DSA-4735-1 grub2. This security update covers multiple CVE issues regarding the GRUB2 UEFI SecureBoot 'BootHole' vulnerability.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 3rd of August 2020 02:37:20 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (ffmpeg, libjcat, mbedtls, tcpreplay, and wireshark-cli), Debian (ark, evolution-data-server, libjpeg-turbo, libopenmpt, libpam-radius-auth, libphp-phpmailer, libssh, ruby-zip, thunderbird, and transmission), Fedora (chromium, clamav, claws-mail, evolution-data-server, freerdp, glibc, java-latest-openjdk, nspr, and nss), Gentoo (libsndfile, pycrypto, python, snmptt, thunderbird, and webkit-gtk), Mageia (botan2, chocolate-doom, cloud-init, dnsmasq, freerdp/remmina, gssdp/gupnp, java-1.8.0-openjdk, matio, microcode, nasm, openjpeg2, pcre2, php-phpmailer, redis, roundcubemail, ruby-rack, thunderbird, virtualbox, and xerces-c), openSUSE (claws-mail, ldb, and libraw), Oracle (firefox), Red Hat (bind, grub2, kernel-rt, libvncserver, nss and nspr, and qemu-kvm-rhev), Scientific Linux (firefox), Slackware (thunderbird), and SUSE (firefox, kernel, and targetcli-fb).

The 5.8 kernel is out

Sunday 2nd of August 2020 10:10:54 PM
Linus has released the 5.8 kernel. "So I considered making an rc8 all the way to the last minute, but decided it's not just worth waiting another week when there aren't any big looming worries around." Headline features in this release include: branch target identification and shadow call stacks for the arm64 architecture, the BPF iterator mechanism, inline encryption support in the block layer, the CAP_PERFMON and CAP_BPF capabilities, a generalized kernel event-notification subsystem, the KCSAN data-race detector, and more. As always, see the KernelNewbies 5.8 page for more information.

[$] Netgpu and the hazards of proprietary kernel modules

Friday 31st of July 2020 07:46:59 PM
On its face, the netgpu patch set appears to add a useful feature: the ability to copy network data directly between a network adapter and a GPU without moving it through the host CPU. This patch set has quickly become an example of how not to get work into the kernel, though; it has no chance of being merged in anything like its current form and has created a backlash designed to keep modules like it from ever working in mainline kernels. It all comes down to one fundamental mistake: basing kernel work on a proprietary kernel module.

Stable kernels 5.7.12, 5.4.55, 4.19.136, 4.14.191, 4.9.232, and 4.4.232

Friday 31st of July 2020 06:21:48 PM
Greg Kroah-Hartman has released the 5.7.12, 5.4.55, 4.19.136, 4.14.191, 4.9.232, and 4.4.232 stable kernels. As usual, these contain lots of important fixes throughout the tree; users should upgrade.

X.org security fixes address potential ASLR bypass, heap corruption

Friday 31st of July 2020 05:38:41 PM
The X.Org project has announced two security advisories that impact Xserver and libX11. The first advisory for X server is regarding uninitialized memory in AllocatePixmap() that could lead to address space layout randomization bypass. The second, impacting libX11, is a heap corruption caused by integer overflows and signed/unsigned comparisons.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 31st of July 2020 04:32:31 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (grub2 and mercurial), Fedora (chromium, firefox, and freerdp), Oracle (firefox and kernel), Red Hat (firefox), Scientific Linux (firefox, grub2, and kernel), and SUSE (ghostscript and targetcli-fb).

systemd 246 released

Friday 31st of July 2020 02:41:13 PM
Systemd 246 has been released. There is an incredibly long list of new features, many of which have to do with support for encrypted and signed disk volumes. "Various command line parameters and configuration file settings that configure key or certificate files now optionally take paths to AF_UNIX sockets in the file system. If configured that way a stream connection is made to the socket and the required data read from it. This is a simple and natural extension to the existing regular file logic, and permits other software to provide keys or certificates via simple IPC services, for example when unencrypted storage on disk is not desired."

[$] Go filesystems and file embedding

Thursday 30th of July 2020 04:52:32 PM
The Go team has recently published several draft designs that propose changes to the language, standard library, and tooling: we covered the one on generics back in June. Last week, the Go team published two draft designs related to files: one for a new read-only filesystem interface, which specifies a minimal interface for filesystems, and a second design that proposes a standard way to embed files into Go binaries (by building on the filesystem interface). Embedding files into Go binaries is intended to simplify deployments by including all of a program's resources in a single binary; the filesystem interface design was drafted primarily as a building block for that. There has been a lot of discussion on the draft designs, which has been generally positive, but there are some significant concerns.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 30th of July 2020 04:45:21 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (webkit2gtk), CentOS (GNOME, grub2, and kernel), Debian (firefox-esr, grub2, json-c, kdepim-runtime, libapache2-mod-auth-openidc, net-snmp, and xrdp), Gentoo (chromium and firefox), Mageia (podofo), openSUSE (knot and tomcat), Oracle (grub2, kernel, postgresql-jdbc, and python-pillow), Red Hat (firefox, grub2, kernel, and kernel-rt), SUSE (grub2), and Ubuntu (firefox, grub2, grub2-signed, and librsvg).

Grub2 updates for Red Hat systems are making some unbootable

Thursday 30th of July 2020 04:44:23 PM
As reported in the comments on the Grub2 secure-boot vulnerabilities report, the updates for grub2 for RHEL 8 and CentOS 8 are making some systems unbootable. The boot problems are seemingly unrelated to whether the system has secure boot enabled. It may be worth waiting a bit for that to shake out.

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for July 30, 2020

Thursday 30th of July 2020 12:23:48 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for July 30, 2020 is available.

[$] Open-source CNCing

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 06:50:09 PM
Last year Sienci Labs finished its Kickstarter campaign for the open-source LongMill Benchtop CNC Router — its second successful open-source CNC machine Kickstarter campaign. CNC routers allow users to mill things (like parts) from raw materials (like a block of aluminum) based on a 3D-model. The LongMill is a significant improvement over the original sold-out Mill One and makes professional-quality machining based entirely on open-source technology a reality. As an owner of a LongMill, I will walk through the various open-source technologies that make this tool a cornerstone of my home workshop.

A long list of GRUB2 secure-boot holes

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 06:47:47 PM
Several vulnerabilities have been disclosed in the GRUB2 bootloader; they enable the circumvention of the UEFI secure boot mechanism and the persistent installation of hostile software. Fixing the problem is not just a matter of getting a new GRUB2 installation, unfortunately. "It is important to note that updating the exploitable binaries does not in fact mitigate the CVE, since an attacker could bring an old, exploitable, signed copy of a grub binary onto a system with whatever kernel they wished to load. In order to mitigate, the UEFI Revocation List (dbx) must be updated on a system. Once the UEFI Revocation List is updated on a system, it will no longer boot binaries that pre-date these fixes. This includes old install media."

Four stable kernels

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 03:17:58 PM
Stable kernels 5.7.11, 5.4.54, 4.19.135, and 4.14.190 have been released. They all contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

[$] A look at Dart

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 03:14:41 PM
Dart is a BSD-licensed programming language from Google with a mature open-source community supporting the project. It works with multiple architectures, is capable of producing native machine-code binaries, and can also produce JavaScript versions of its applications. Dart version 1.0 was released in 2013, with the most recent version, 2.8, released on June 3 (2.9 is currently in public beta). Among the open-source projects using Dart is the cross-device user-interface (UI) toolkit Flutter. We recently covered the Canonical investment in Flutter to help drive more applications to the Linux desktop, and Dart is central to that story.

More in Tux Machines

Hardware Freedom: 3D Printing, RasPi and RPi CM3 Module

  • Can 3D Printing Really Solve PPE Shortage in COVID-19 Crisis? The Myth, and The Facts!

    Amid COVID-19 crisis, we see severe shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worldwide, to the point that a strict organization like FDA is making exceptions for PPE usage, and there are volunteer effors to try to alleviate this shortage like GetUsPPE. Also, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an Excel spreadsheet file to help calculate the PPE Burn Rate. There are many blog posts, video tutorials, and guides that teach people how to print their face shields and masks.

  • Raspberry Pi won’t let your watched pot boil
  • Growing fresh veggies with Rpi and Mender

    Some time ago my wife and I decided to teach our kids how to grow plants. We both have experience as we were raised in small towns where it was common to own a piece of land where you could plant home-grown fresh veggies. The upbringing of our kids is very different compared to ours, and we realized we never showed our kids how to grow our own veggies. We wanted them to learn and to understand that “the vegetables do not grow on the shop-shelf”, and that there is work (and fun) involved to grow those. The fact that we are gone for most of the summer and to start our own garden just to see it die when we returned seemed to be pointless. This was a challenge. Luckily, me being a hands-on engineer I promised my wife to take care of it. There were two options: we could buy something that will water our plants when we are gone, or I could do it myself (with a little help from our kids). Obviously I chose the more fun solution…

  • Comfile Launches 15-inch Industrial Raspberry Pi Touch Panel PC Powered by RPi CM3 Module

    Three years ago, we noted Comfile has made 7-inch and 10.2-inch touch panel PC’s powered by Raspberry Pi 3 Compute Module. The company has recently introduced a new model with a very similar design except for a larger 15-inch touchscreen display with 1024×768 resolution. ComfilePi CPi-A150WR 15-inch industrial Raspberry Pi touch panel PC still features the CM3 module, and the same ports including Ethernet, USB ports, RS232, RS485, and I2C interfaces accessible via terminal blocks, and a 40-pin I/O header.

Programming: Vala, Perl and Python

  • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Vala

    Vala is an object-oriented programming language with a self-hosting compiler that generates C code and uses the GObject system. Vala combines the high-level build-time performance of scripting languages with the run-time performance of low-level programming languages. Vala is syntactically similar to C# and includes notable features such as anonymous functions, signals, properties, generics, assisted memory management, exception handling, type inference, and foreach statements. Its developers, Jürg Billeter and Raffaele Sandrini, wanted to bring these features to the plain C runtime with little overhead and no special runtime support by targeting the GObject object system. Rather than compiling directly to machine code or assembly language, it compiles to a lower-level intermediate language. It source-to-source compiles to C, which is then compiled with a C compiler for a given platform, such as GCC. Did you always want to write GTK+ or GNOME programs, but hate C with a passion? Learn Vala with these free tutorials! Vala is published under the GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1+.

  • Supporting Perl-related creators via Patreon

    Yesterday I posted about this in the Perl Weekly newsletter and both Mohammad and myself got 10 new supporters. This is awesome. There are not many ways to express the fact that you really value the work of someone. You can send them postcards or thank-you notes, but when was the last time you remembered to do that? Right, I also keep forgetting to thank the people who create all the free and awesome stuff I use. Giving money as a way to express your thanks is frowned upon by many people, but trust me, the people who open an account on Patreon to make it easy to donate them money will appreciate it. In any case it is way better than not saying anything.

  • 2020.31 TwentyTwenty

    JJ Merelo kicked off the special 20-day Advent Blog cycle in honour of the publication of the first RFC that would lay the foundation for the Raku Programming Language as we now know it. After that, 3 blog posts got already published:

  • Supporting The Full Lifecycle Of Machine Learning Projects With Metaflow

    Netflix uses machine learning to power every aspect of their business. To do this effectively they have had to build extensive expertise and tooling to support their engineers. In this episode Savin Goyal discusses the work that he and his team are doing on the open source machine learning operations platform Metaflow. He shares the inspiration for building an opinionated framework for the full lifecycle of machine learning projects, how it is implemented, and how they have designed it to be extensible to allow for easy adoption by users inside and outside of Netflix. This was a great conversation about the challenges of building machine learning projects and the work being done to make it more achievable.

  • Django 3.1 Released

    The Django team is happy to announce the release of Django 3.1.

  • Awesome Python Applications: buku

    buku: Browser-independent bookmark manager with CLI and web server frontends, with integrations for browsers, cloud-based bookmark managers, and emacs.

  • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 9 Check-in

DRM and Proprietary Software Leftovers

  • Some Photoshop users can try Adobe’s anti-misinformation system later this year

    Adobe pitched the CAI last year as a general anti-misinformation and pro-attribution tool, but many details remained in flux. A newly released white paper makes its scope clearer. The CAI is primarily a more persistent, verifiable type of image metadata. It’s similar to the standard EXIF tags that show the location or date of a photograph, but with cryptographic signatures that let you verify the tags haven’t been changed or falsely applied to a manipulated photo.

    People can still download and edit the image, take a screenshot of it, or interact the way they would any picture. Any CAI metadata tags will show that the image was manipulated, however. Adobe is basically encouraging adding valuable context and viewing any untagged photos with suspicion, rather than trying to literally stop plagiarism or fakery. “There will always be bad actors,” says Adobe community products VP Will Allen. “What we want to do is provide consumers a way to go a layer deeper — to actually see what happened to that asset, who it came from, where it came from, and what happened to it.”

    The white paper makes clear that Adobe will need lots of hardware and software support for the system to work effectively. CAI-enabled cameras (including both basic smartphones and high-end professional cameras) would need to securely add tags for dates, locations, and other details. Photo editing tools would record how an image has been altered — showing that a journalist adjusted the light balance but didn’t erase or add any details. And social networks or other sites would need to display the information and explain why users should care about it.

  •  
  • EFF and ACLU Tell Federal Court that Forensic Software Source Code Must Be Disclosed
           
             

    Can secret software be used to generate key evidence against a criminal defendant? In an amicus filed ten days ago with the United States District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania, EFF and the ACLU of Pennsylvania explain that secret forensic technology is inconsistent with criminal defendants’ constitutional rights and the public’s right to oversee the criminal trial process. Our amicus in the case of United States v. Ellis also explains why source code, and other aspects of forensic software programs used in a criminal prosecution, must be disclosed in order to ensure that innocent people do not end up behind bars, or worse—on death row.

             

    The Constitution guarantees anyone accused of a crime due process and a fair trial. Embedded in those foundational ideals is the Sixth Amendment right to confront the evidence used against you. As the Supreme Court has recognized, the Confrontation Clause’s central purpose was to ensure that evidence of a crime was reliable by subjecting it to rigorous testing and challenges. This means that defendants must be given enough information to allow them to examine and challenge the accuracy of evidence relied on by the government.

  •                
  • Powershell Bot with Multiple C2 Protocols
                     
                       

    I spotted another interesting Powershell script. It's a bot and is delivered through a VBA macro that spawns an instance of msbuild.exe This Windows tool is often used to compile/execute malicious on the fly (I already wrote a diary about this technique[1]). I don’t have the original document but based on a technique used in the macro, it is part of a Word document. It calls Document_ContentControlOnEnter[2]: [...]

  •      
  • FBI Used Information From An Online Forum Hacking To Track Down One Of The Hackers Behind The Massive Twitter Attack
           
             

    As Mike reported last week, the DOJ rounded up three alleged participants in the massive Twitter hack that saw dozens of verified accounts start tweeting out promises to double the bitcoin holdings of anyone who sent bitcoin to a certain account.

  •                    
  • Twitter Expects to Pay 9-Figure Fine for Violating FTC Agreement
                         
                           

    That means that the complaint is not related to last month’s high-profile [cr]ack of prominent accounts on the service. That security incident saw accounts from the likes of Joe Biden and Elon Musk ask followers to send them bitcoin. A suspect was arrested in the incident last month.

  •                    
  • Twitter Expects to Pay Up to $250 Million in FTC Fine Over Alleged Privacy Violations
                         
                           

    Twitter disclosed that it anticipates being forced to pay an FTC fine of $150 million to $250 million related to alleged violations over the social network’s use of private data for advertising.

                           

    The company revealed the expected scope of the fine in a 10-Q filing with the SEC. Twitter said that on July 28 it received a draft complaint from the Federal Trade Commission alleging the company violated a 2011 consent order, which required Twitter to establish an information-security program designed to “protect non-public consumer information.”

                           

    “The allegations relate to the Company’s use of phone number and/or email address data provided for safety and security purposes for targeted advertising during periods between 2013 and 2019,” Twitter said in the filing.

  •                
  • Apple removes more than 26,000 games from China app store
                     
                       

    Apple pulled 29,800 apps from its China app store on Saturday, including more than 26,000 games, according to Qimai Research Institute.

                       

    The removals are in response to Beijing's crackdown on unlicensed games, which started in June and intensified in July, Bloomberg reported. This brings an end to the unofficial practice of letting games be published while awaiting approval from Chinese censors.

  •                
  • Intuit Agrees to Buy Singapore Inventory Software Maker
                     
                       

    Intuit will pay more than $80 million for TradeGecko, according to people familiar with the matter, marking one of the biggest exits in Singapore since the Covid-19 pandemic. TradeGecko has raised more than $20 million to date from investors including Wavemaker Partners, Openspace Ventures and Jungle Ventures.

  •                      
  • Justice Department Is Scrutinizing Takeover of Credit Karma by Intuit, Maker of TurboTax
           
             

    The probe comes after ProPublica first reported in February that antitrust experts viewed the deal as concerning because it could allow a dominant firm to eliminate a competitor with an innovative business model. Intuit already dominates online tax preparation, with a 67% market share last year. The article sparked letters from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., urging the DOJ to investigate further. Cicilline is chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee.

Security Leftovers

           
  • DNS configuration recommendations for IPFire users

    If you are familiar with IPFire, you might have noticed DNSSEC validation is mandatory, since it defeats entire classes of attacks. We receive questions like "where is the switch to turn off DNSSEC" on a regular basis, and to say it once and for all: There is none, and there will never be one. If you are running IPFire, you will be validating DNSSEC. Period. Another question frequently asked is why IPFire does not support filtering DNS replies for certain FQDNs, commonly referred to as a Response Policy Zone (RPZ). This is because an RPZ does what DNSSEC attempts to secure users against: Tamper with DNS responses. From the perspective of a DNSSEC-validating system, a RPZ will just look like an attacker (if the queried FQDN is DNSSEC-signed, which is what we strive for as much of them as possible), thus creating a considerable amount of background noise. Obviously, this makes detecting ongoing attacks very hard, most times even impossible - the haystack to search just becomes too big. Further, it does not cover direct connections to hardcoded IP addresses, which is what some devices and attackers usually do, as it does not rely on DNS to be operational and does not leave any traces. Using an RPZ will not make your network more secure, it just attempts to cover up the fact that certain devices within it cannot be trusted. Back to DNSSEC: In case the queried FQDNs are signed, forged DNS replies are detected since they do not match the RRSIG records retrieved for that domain. Instead of being transparently redirected to a fradulent web server, the client will only display a error message to its user, indicating a DNS lookup failure. Large-scale attacks by returning forged DNS replies are frequently observed in the wild (the DNSChanger trojan is a well-known example), which is why you want to benefit from validating DNSSEC and more and more domains being signed with it.

  • Security updates for Tuesday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (libx11, webkit2gtk, and zabbix), Fedora (webkit2gtk3), openSUSE (claws-mail, ghostscript, and targetcli-fb), Red Hat (dbus, kpatch-patch, postgresql-jdbc, and python-pillow), Scientific Linux (libvncserver and postgresql-jdbc), SUSE (kernel and python-rtslib-fb), and Ubuntu (ghostscript, sqlite3, squid3, and webkit2gtk). 

  •        
  • Official 1Password Linux App is Available for Testing

    An official 1Password Linux app is on the way, and brave testers are invited to try an early development preview. 1Password is a user-friendly (and rather popular) cross-platform password manager. It provides mobile apps and browser extensions for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox — and now a dedicated desktop app for Linux, too.

  •        
  • FBI Warns of Increased DDoS Attacks

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation warned in a “private industry notification” last week that attackers are increasingly using amplification techniques in distributed denial-of-service attacks. There has been an uptick in attack attempts since February, the agency’s Cyber Division said in the alert. An amplification attack occurs when attackers send a small number of requests to a server and the server responds with numerous responses. The attackers spoof the IP address to make it look like the requests are coming from a specific victim, and the resulting responses overwhelms the victim’s network. “Cyber actors have exploited built-in network protocols, designed to reduce computation overhead of day-to-day system and operational functions to conduct larger and more destructive distributed denial-of-service amplification attacks against US networks,” the FBI alert said. Copies of the alert were posted online by several recipients, including threat intelligence company Bad Packets.

  • NSA issues BootHole mitigation guidance

    Following the disclosure of a widespread buffer-flow vulnerability that could affect potentially billions of Linux and Windows-based devices, the National Security Agency issued a follow-up cybersecurity advisory highlighting the bug and offering steps for mitigation. The vulnerability -- dubbed BootHole -- impacts devices and operating systems that use signed versions of the open-source GRUB2 bootloader software found in most Linux systems. It also affects any system or device using Secure Boot -- a root firmware interface responsible for validating the booting process -- with Microsoft's standard third party certificate authority. The vulnerability enables attackers to bypass Secure Boot to allow arbitrary code execution and “could be used to install persistent and stealthy bootkits,” NSA said in a press statement.