Having the ability to remotely manage and monitor servers even when their main operating system becomes unresponsive is vital to enterprise IT administrators. All server manufacturers provide this functionality in firmware through a set of chips that run independent of the rest of the server and OS. These are known as baseboard management controllers (BMCs) and if they’re not secured properly, they can open the door to highly persistent and hard-to-detect rootkits.
Over the years, security researchers have found and demonstrated vulnerabilities in the BMC implementations of different server manufacturers and attackers have taken advantage of some of them. One recent example is iLOBleed, a malicious BMC implant found in the wild by an Iranian cybersecurity company that targets Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Gen8 and Gen9 servers, but this is not the only such attack found over the years.