[PATCH] Adding password protection to U-boot

Werner Almesberger werner at openmoko.org
Tue Jul 8 17:25:55 CEST 2008

Francesco Albanese wrote:
> NAND environment can be accessed on Linux via MTD using root privileges.
> It shouldn't be so difficult to write a tool to manage the NAND
> partition and reset a password just in case.

Yeah, but you still have the issue that you either have guaranteed
unbricking from any state of bad NAND or security that includes the
NOR. It's tricky.

> All systems are breakable sooner or later, we need just enough
> time/resources to crack them. If the effort needed to break a system
> discourages the not-enough motivated thief, spy or whatsoever  another
> point in security is scored.

True enough.

> The actual question is: how many debug boards are going to be sold ?
> Could it be so easy to get one in the future, once NEO will be
> mass-marketed ?

As far as I know, we'll be happy to make as many debug boards as we
can sell.

> I understand the need of having a reliable device, but this state of
> the art issue is so interesting and relevant that I believe that all
> the possible options haven't been evaluated yet.

Sure. There's always a really clever idea somewhere out there. You
just have to find it :-)

By the way, in future devices, we'll probably have the option that
the boot loader can disable the write protection of the recovery
storage. The idea is to have a "trapdoor" - system starts without
write protection, then the very early initialization sets the
protection, which can then only be removed by a hardware reset.

With this in place, we could make it a bit easier to allow changing
the recovery storage.

("Recovery storage" = NOR in GTA02, but probably just NAND in future

- Werner

More information about the openmoko-devel mailing list