Secure Boot has arrived

A cartoon laptop with a pink screen that shows a big sad face.

The following is an exerpt from Secure Boot has arrived by Jesse Smith:

Secure Boot, in case you missed all the excitement earlier, is a technology which is supposed to protect computer users from malware by insuring only trusted software can boot on the machine. How this works is, essentially, the computer comes with a security key (or keys) and any operating system or boot loader which we want to run on the machine needs to have a corresponding key. The idea is malware won’t be able to sneak onto the computer and get loaded into memory before the operating system. A side effect, which many do not believe to be a coincidence, is operating systems other than Windows 8 are prevented from booting too.

Now, you might be thinking, as I was, that it was foolish of me to purchase a machine with Secure Boot in the first place. After all, I’ve been warning people about it for long enough I should have been more careful. That was what was going through my mind as I went through the long process of getting my thumb drive to be recognized as a boot device. But then, the next day, I went back to the merchant’s website and discovered something. There is no mention of Secure Boot, UEFI or Windows 8 certification anywhere on the page. How is a consumer to know, even if they are aware of the feature, whether a machine is locked down or not? Software freedom requires vigilance and I fear that is more true now than it was a year ago. Be careful when shopping for new computers, it is easy to purchase more trouble than one bargained for.

– Jesse Smith, Secure Boot has arrived