No, you can't downgrade T14 Gen 3 AMD's UEFI BIOS even when Secure Rollback Prevention is turned off

The "Secure Rollback Prevention" entry in the UEFI BIOS configuration
The “Secure Rollback Prevention” entry in the UEFI BIOS configuration

The bottom line is that there is a new configuration called “AMD Secure Processor Rollback protection” on recent AMD systems in addition to “Secure Rollback Prevention” (BIOS rollback protection). If it’s enabled by a vendor, you cannot downgrade the UEFI BIOS revisions once you install a one with security vulnerability fixes.

This feature prevents an attacker from loading an older firmware onto the part after a security vulnerability has been fixed.
End users are not able to directly modify rollback protection, this is controlled by the manufacturer.

Previously I installed the revision 1.49 (R23ET73W) but it’s gone from Lenovo’s official page with the notice below. I’ve been annoyed by a symptom which is likely from a firmware so I wanted to try multiple revisions for bisecting, and also I thought I should downgrade it to the latest official revision as 1.40 (R23ET70W) since the withdrawal clearly indicates that there is something wrong with 1.49.

This BIOS version R23UJ73W is reported Lenovo cloud not working issue, hence it has been withdrawn from support site.

First, I turned off Secure Rollback Prevention and tried downgrading it with fwupdmgr like the following. However, it failed to be applied with Secure Flash Authentication Failed when rebooted.

$ fwupdmgr downgrade
0.    Cancel
1.    b0fb0282929536060857f3bd5f80b319233340fd (Battery)
2.    6fd62cb954242863ea4a184c560eebd729c76101 (Embedded Controller)
3.    0d5d05911800242bb1f35287012cdcbd9b381148 (Prometheus)
4.    3743975ad7f64f8d6575a9ae49fb3a8856fe186f (SKHynix HFS256GDE9X081N)
5.    d77c38c163257a2c2b0c0b921b185f481d9c1e0c (System Firmware)
6.    6df01b2df47b1b08190f1acac54486deb0b4c645 (TPM)
7.    362301da643102b9f38477387e2193e57abaa590 (UEFI dbx)
Choose device [0-7]: 5
0.    Cancel
1.    0.1.46
2.    0.1.41
3.    0.1.38
4.    0.1.36
5.    0.1.23
Choose release [0-5]: 

Next, I tried their ISO image r23uj70wd.iso, but no luck with another error.


The system program file is not correct for this system.

Also, Windows failed to apply it so I became convinced it was impossible. However, I didn’t have a clear idea why at that point and bumped into a handy command in fwupdmgr.

$ fwupdmgr security
Host Security ID: HSI:1! (v1.9.16)

✔ BIOS firmware updates:         Enabled
✔ Fused platform:                Locked
✔ Supported CPU:                 Valid
✔ TPM empty PCRs:                Valid
✔ TPM v2.0:                      Found
✔ UEFI bootservice variables:    Locked
✔ UEFI platform key:             Valid
✔ UEFI secure boot:              Enabled

✔ SPI write protection:          Enabled
✔ IOMMU:                         Enabled
✔ Platform debugging:            Locked
✔ TPM PCR0 reconstruction:       Valid
✘ BIOS rollback protection:      Disabled

✔ SPI replay protection:         Enabled
✔ CET Platform:                  Supported
✔ Pre-boot DMA protection:       Enabled
✔ Suspend-to-idle:               Enabled
✔ Suspend-to-ram:                Disabled

✔ Processor rollback protection: Enabled
✔ Encrypted RAM:                 Encrypted
✔ SMAP:                          Enabled

Runtime Suffix -!
✔ fwupd plugins:                 Untainted
✔ Linux kernel lockdown:         Enabled
✔ Linux kernel:                  Untainted
✘ CET OS Support:                Not supported
✘ Linux swap:                    Unencrypted

This system has HSI runtime issues.

Host Security Events
  2024-05-01 15:06:29:  ✘ BIOS rollback protection changed: Enabled → Disabled

As you can see, the BIOS rollback protection in the HSI-2 section is “Disabled” as intended. But Processor rollback protection in HSI-4 is “Enabled”. I found a commit suggesting that there was a system with the config disabled and it was able to be enabled when OS Optimized Defaults is turned on.

Update documentation to indicate that loading “OS Optimized Defaults”

may enable security processor rollback protection on Lenovo systems.

I hoped that Processor rollback protection might be disabled by turning off OS Optimized Defaults instead.

Tried OS Optimized Defaults turned off but no luck
Tried OS Optimized Defaults turned off but no luck
$ fwupdmgr security
Host Security ID: HSI:1! (v1.9.16)


✘ BIOS rollback protection:      Disabled


✔ Processor rollback protection: Enabled


Host Security Events
  2024-05-02 03:24:45:  ✘ Kernel lockdown disabled
  2024-05-02 03:24:45:  ✘ Secure Boot disabled
  2024-05-02 03:24:45:  ✘ Pre-boot DMA protection is disabled
  2024-05-02 03:24:45:  ✘ Encrypted RAM changed: Encrypted → Not supported

Some configurations were overridden, but the Processor rollback protection stayed the same. It’s confirmed that it’s really impossible to downgrade the firmware with vulnerability fixes. I learned the hard way that there was a clear difference between “a vendor doesn’t support downgrading” and “it can’t be downgraded” as per the release notes.


Version 1.49 (UEFI BIOS) 1.32 (ECP)

[Important updates]

  • Notice that BIOS can’t be downgraded to older BIOS version after upgrade to r23uj73w(1.49).

[New functions or enhancements]

  • Enhancement to address security vulnerability, CVE-2023-5058,LEN-123535,LEN-128083,LEN-115697,LEN-123534,LEN-118373,LEN-119523,LEN-123536.
  • Change to permit fan rotation after fan error happen.

I have to wait for a new and better firmware.