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How does ONTAP protect boot image integrity?

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Applies to

  • FAS and AFF systems with Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)
  • ONTAP 9.4 and later

Answer

  • ONTAP provides a secure boot mechanism that verifies a genuine image of the operating system, that has not been tampered with, is always present and loaded at boot time.
  • Malicious actors may attempt to load malware, root kits, bot kits, or something similar in order to compromise and gain access to the underlying operating system. With this access, an attacker could potentially cause damage, exfiltrate data, or engage in other nefarious actions on the underlying system without operating systems knowledge.
  • ONTAP FAS and AFF systems include a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) capable BIOS and boot loader that are a signed and validated using PKI (Public Key Infrastructure). 
  • During boot, the BIOS validates the software boot loader using public key signature validation. The boot loader also validates the ONTAP image prior to boot using this same signature validation. If signature validation fails for any reason, the system reboots.
  • When the boot loader updates the BIOS, it in turn validates the BIOS is genuinely using signatures before applying any BIOS update.

Additional Information

See the ONTAP image validation section in the ONTAP 9 Hardening Guide.

 

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