As if the latest research (which showed that RAM contents can be recovered after power-down) was not enough, it seems as Firewire ports can form yet an easier attack vector into FDE-locked laptops.

Windows hacked in seconds via Firewire

        The attack takes advantage of the fact that Firewire can
        directly read and write to a system's memory, adding extra speed
        to data transfer.

IIUC, the tool mentioned only bypasses the Win32 unlock screen, but given the free access to RAM, exploit code that digs out FDE keys is a matter of very little extra work.

This is nothing new. The concept was presented a couple of years ago, but I haven't seen most FDE enthusiasts disable their Firewire ports yet.


        Microsoft downplayed the problem, noting that the Firewire
        attack is just one of many that could be carried out if an
        attacker already has physical access to the system.

        "The claims [...] are not software vulnerabilities,
        but reflect a hardware design industry issue that affects
        multiple operating systems," Bill Sisk, Microsoft's security
        response communications manager, told Techworld.

It is not *their* fault, but being a company that pretends to take users' security seriously, and being at a position that allows them to block this attack vector elegantly, I would have gone that extra half-mile rather than come up with excuses why not to fix it. All they need to do is make sure (through a user-controlled but default-on feature) that when the workstation is locked, new Firewire or PCMCIA devices cannot be introduced. That hard?


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