Capsule Based Firmware Update and Firmware Recovery

Brian Richardson edited this page Jun 29, 2017 · 5 revisions

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This page describes the UEFI Capsule ("capsule") implementation in EDK II, along with common use cases. EDK II provides an implementation of capsule-based firmware update and firmware recovery features that can detect if a firmware update or a recovery image delivered via UEFI Capsule has been modified (SignedCapsulePkg). It can also verify that the capsule applies to the platform that receives the capsule, and verifies that a firmware update does not violate any of the platforms's firmware rollback rules.

Why Are Signed Capsules Important?

Firmware is responsible for low-level platform initialization and hand-off to the operating system. This means firmware establishes root-of-trust for the platform. Signed capsules help assure that the correct update is being applied to the platform. Using signed images with UEFI Capsule allows an OS-agnostic process to provide verified firmware updates, utilizing root-of-trust established by the firmware. This scenario assumes the factory-provisioned firmware and subsequent updates are signed with the same public/private keypair.

UEFI Capsule Implementation in EDK II

SignedCapsulePkg makes use of OpenSSL command line utilities to sign firmware update capsules and firmware recovery images. It also uses OpenSSL libraries to authenticate firmware update capsules and firmware recovery images before they are used.

As of December 2016, SignedCapsulePkg is integrated into the master branch of the Intel® Galileo Gen 2 and MinnowBoard Max platform firmware projects on EDK II. To implement this package on other EDK II platforms, please review documentation for capsule use cases.

Common Use Cases for UEFI Capsule

Signing Keys for Test and Production

The EDK II implementation of capsule-based firmware update and firmware recovery provides test signing keys that may be used during firmware development and debug. If the EDK II implementation of capsule-based firmware update and recovery is used to build a production firmware images, production firmware updates, or production recovery images, then the product owner must create and manage their production signing keys.

NOTE: These instructions only cover how to generate a new X.509 Certificate Chain using OpenSSL. It is up to the product owner to properly handle and protect the cryptographic pair (private keys and public X.509 certificates) used to sign and authenticate capsule-based system firmware update images.

Summary of UEFI Capsule Services, Tables & Variables

The UEFI Specification and the PI Specification provide details on the services, tables, and variables associated with the use of capsules for firmware update and recovery.

  • [UEFI] UpdateCapsule() and QueryCapsuleCapabilities() Runtime Services
  • [UEFI] _OsIndicationsSupported_ and _OsIndications_ UEFI Variables
  • [UEFI] CapsuleNNNN Capsule Report Variables
  • [UEFI] Firmware Management Protocol (FMP)
  • [UEFI] EFI System Resource Table (ESRT)
  • [PI] Recovery Module PPI
  • [PI] Device Recovery Module PPI
  • [PI] Recovery Block I/O PPI and Recovery Block I/O 2 PPI
  • [PI] Boot to Recovery Mode PPI

Additional Documentation

A Tour Beyond BIOS: Capsule Update and Recovery in EDK II (Intel Whitepaper, Dec 2016)

Signed UEFI Firmware Updates in EDK II (Intel Developer Zone)

Better Firmware Updates in Linux Using UEFI Capsules (Intel Developer Zone)

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