How Dell Bolstered PC Security for Remote Workers

eWEEK NEWS: In light of the overnight changeover to a remote workforce for many people, Dell Technologies has come up with a new level of security to keep the BIOS door locked at all times.

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Windows personal computer users don't often think about the BIOS in their devices—in fact, it's safe to say a high percentage of PC users wouldn't know a BIOS from a basketball.

BIOS (basic input/output system) is the firmware a PC's microprocessor uses to get the computer system started after you turn it on. It also manages data flow between the computer's operating system and attached devices, such as the hard disk, video adapter, keyboard, mouse and printer. (Editor's note: Apple laptop and desktop computers do not use a BIOS.)

In the criminal tech world, the BIOS can serve as a door that can be hacked open to access data on a PC. So, in light of the overnight changeover to a remote workforce for many people, Dell Technologies has come up with a new level of security to keep the BIOS door locked at all times.

To protect against BIOS attacks, Dell Technologies on April 10 introduced Dell SafeBIOS Events & Indicators of Attack (IoA). SafeBIOS Events & IoA uses behavior-based threat detection at the BIOS level to detect advanced endpoint threats.

A Close Look at How Secure PCs Really Are

The new utility gives organizations a close look into how secure their workers' PCs are. Security staff can use SafeBIOS Events & IoA to quickly find out whether an attacker is using a BIOS exploit on a worker's PC and then respond immediately to shut down the attack.

"Securing the BIOS is particularly critical because a compromised BIOS can potentially provide an attacker with access to all data on the endpoint, including high-value targets like credentials," Dell said in a media advisory blog post. "In a worst-case scenario, attackers can leverage a compromised BIOS to move within an organization's network and attack the broader IT infrastructure."

Detection at this level allows organizations to respond to advanced threats quickly, interrupting the attack chain before it’s able to do more damage. The SafeBIOS Events & IoA utility is now available globally for download on Dell commercial PCs as part of the Dell Trusted Device solution, the company said.

Helping Organizations Securely Work From Home

Key features in the Dell Trusted Device package include:

  • VMware Carbon Black security software, which has eliminated endpoint limits until June 20, 2020.
  • Secureworks’ accelerated vulnerability assessments, with which you can pressure-test remote work deployments. The company also has enabled flexible payment options for Secureworks’ managed detection and response and incident response solutions.
  • Dell Technologies is offering temporary work-at-home licenses for Dell Encryption until May 15, 2020.

For companies that have recently taken their workforces remote, check out the informational webcast interview with Dell Technologies Chief Security Officer John Scimone for insight into the broad range of security issues organizations face when supporting a remote workforce.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...