Reverse Engineering PCI Drivers

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(UNDER CONSTRUCTION) by Vikram Ambrose -- Vambrose 01:44, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

This is a short guide demonstrating how I used the PCI Passthrough framework in KVM to reverse engineer atiflash.exe – a video BIOS flashing tool for DOS.

atiflash.exe is a real dos application that flashes the video BIOS on ATi graphics cards. There are numerous ATi video BIOS flashing tools for Windows, but none for Linux as the code for doing this has not been made publicly available by AMD.

This technique allowed me to trace all PCI configuration space and memory mapped i/o (mmio) accesses to the PCI-E device from the closed source flashing tool.

Tools needed:

In order to give the virtual machine direct pci access, the host operating system cannot register a driver for the device. In my case, this simply meant blacklisting the radeon and drm kernel modules.

All the tracing is done from QEMU. Using the special qemu-kvm branch mentioned above, go into qemu-kvm/hw/device-assignments.c and ensure:

 #define DEVICE_ASSIGNMENT_DEBUG 1 


Use lspci to get the location of the PCI device:

 02:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc RV770 [Radeon HD 4870]
 02:00.1 Audio device: ATI Technologies Inc HD48x0 audio


Special thanks go out to Carl-Daniel Hailfinger, Twice#11 and the entire KVM and QEMU team for making this possible.