CVE-2023-24932: A Deep Dive into the Secure Boot Security Feature Bypass Vulnerability

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, new vulnerabilities are constantly being discovered and exploited by malicious actors. One vulnerability that has recently come to light is CVE-2023-24932. This vulnerability is a Secure Boot Security Feature Bypass Vulnerability, and it has been actively exploited by a bootkit named BlackLotus. In this post we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of CVE-2023-24932 and the associated risks.

Understanding CVE-2023-24932

CVE-2023-24932 is a security vulnerability that impacts the Secure Boot feature in various Windows Server versions. The vulnerability was officially released on May 9, 2023, by Microsoft. The severity of this vulnerability is rated as “Important,” with a CVSS (Common Vulnerability Scoring System) score of 6.7 out of 10.

The Secure Boot feature is designed to ensure that a device boots using only software that is trusted by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). However, this vulnerability allows an attacker to bypass this security feature, potentially leading to unauthorized changes to the boot process.

To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker needs to have physical access or administrative rights to the target device. Once these conditions are met, the attacker can install an affected boot policy, bypassing the Secure Boot feature and potentially gaining control over the device.

The Threat of BlackLotus

BlackLotus is a bootkit that has been actively exploiting CVE-2023-24932. A bootkit is a type of malware that infects the Master Boot Record (MBR), allowing it to load before the operating system and evade detection by antivirus software. By exploiting this vulnerability, BlackLotus can bypass Secure Boot and persist on the infected system, even after reboots.

The Mechanics of CVE-2023-24932 Exploitation

To fully understand the implications of CVE-2023-24932, it’s crucial to delve deeper into the mechanics of how this exploit works. This section will provide a more detailed explanation of the exploitation process.

Step 1: Gaining Access

The first requirement for this exploit is that the attacker must have physical access to the target device or administrative rights. This could be achieved through various means, such as social engineering, phishing attacks, or exploiting other vulnerabilities that could escalate privileges.

Step 2: Installing an Affected Boot Policy

Once the attacker has gained the necessary access, they can install an affected boot policy. A boot policy is a set of instructions that the system follows when starting up. By installing a boot policy that is affected by this vulnerability, the attacker can manipulate the boot process.

Step 3: Bypassing Secure Boot

Secure Boot is a security standard developed by the PC industry to help ensure that a device boots using only software that is trusted by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). When a computer with Secure Boot starts up, the firmware checks the signature of each piece of boot software, including firmware drivers (Option ROMs) and the operating system. If the signatures are valid, the PC boots, and the firmware gives control to the operating system.

However, with an affected boot policy installed, the attacker can bypass this Secure Boot check. This means that the system could boot untrusted or malicious software without detection.

Step 4: Persistent Control

Once the Secure Boot feature is bypassed, the attacker can maintain persistent control over the device. This is because the bootkit, such as BlackLotus, can load before the operating system and evade detection by antivirus software. Even if the system is rebooted, the bootkit remains, allowing the attacker to maintain control over the system.

This exploit’s potential impact is significant, as it allows an attacker to gain persistent control over a system, potentially leading to data theft, system damage, and further network compromise. Therefore, it’s crucial for organizations and individuals to take the necessary steps to mitigate this vulnerability and protect their systems.

Mitigation and Protection

Microsoft has released a security update to address CVE-2023-24932. This update modifies the Windows Boot Manager to prevent the exploitation of this vulnerability. However, the update is not enabled by default, and additional steps are required to fully mitigate the vulnerability. Microsoft has provided a guide (KB5025885) detailing the steps to manage the Windows Boot Manager revocations for Secure Boot changes associated with CVE-2023-24932.


CVE-2023-24932 is a significant vulnerability that poses a real threat to systems with the Secure Boot feature. The active exploitation of this vulnerability by the BlackLotus bootkit underscores the importance of timely patching and system updates. As always, maintaining good cybersecurity practices, such as regularly updating software, limiting administrative privileges, and using strong, unique passwords, can go a long way in protecting your systems from such threats.