Intel Platforms Have Been Harboring a Security Loophole Since 2008

As reports S|A for almost a decade, a destructive hacking vulnerability has been lurking in every Intel platform—from Nehalem (2008) to the recent Kaby Lake (2017).

The security loophole has been present in Intel’s Active Management Technology (AMT), Standard Manageability (ISM), and Small Business Technology (SBT) firmware products—from version 6.x, to 11.6. However, this flaw cannot affect Intel-powered consumer PCs.
The security loophole allows perpetrators to exploit the products’ Management Engine (ME) remotely or locally, and assume full system control. After gaining unauthorized privilege escalation, a hacker can quietly interfere with the machine, implant destructive malware, and complete other dangerous actions.

Worse still, if you are on a network and your machine doesn’t have the Intel’s manageability attributes, it could still be susceptible to this type of attack.
The flaw capitalizes on the capabilities of the ME that allow users to get unrestricted access over the network ports and enjoy direct memory access (DMA) to the entire system.
The Intel’s ME omnipotent features empower users to make changes to any memory or storage on a computing infrastructure, sidestep disk encryption, capture or show items on the screen, indiscriminately send files, and carry out other actions without the need of logging into the system.
As much as these features can be of great help to an IT organization, they offer real security threats, if they are in the wrong hands.

Luckily, on May 1, Intel started releasing security patches to address the weakness and safeguard customers. It is also working together with computer-manufacturers to facilitate a quick and hassle-free assimilation with their software.

Therefore, if you’ve incorporated AMT, ISM, or SBT in your computing infrastructure, you should take drastic actions to ensure your system is kept secure from this remote or local hijacking.
For example, you can install the latest Intel’s security patches, replace your vulnerable systems, or take other mitigation actions as advised by your IT expert.
This Intel vulnerability is a red alert, and you need to act as fast as possible to keep your machines safe.

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