The new Intel x86 CPUs have a secret control mechanism that runs on a separate chip that cannot be audited or examined as indicated by security experts, it exposes all affected system attacks and almost undetectable rootkits attacks without the possibility of being eliminated.

Intel x86 CPU has an internal secret that may cause problems 


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The problem is the Intel Management Engine (ME), which is the subsystem that uses a 32-bit ARC microprocessor, which is physically located inside the chipset. Its aim is to provide a firmware closed code to implement management systems in large enterprise deployments.

This works even when the main CPU is suspended. In some chipset, the Intel Management Engine implements a system called Intel’s Active Management Technology (AMT), which is completely transparent to the operating system, which means that this added chip can do their job regardless of the operating system that is installed and running on the main CPU. Manage computers remotely and can access any memory region without the main x86 CPU becomes aware of it. It also runs a TCP/IP server on your network interface and packets entering and leaving your machine on certain ports bypass any firewall running on your system.

Experts in the field have indicated that why this is a really bad idea if it can be exploited. Although the ME firmware is protected by encryption with RSA 2048, researchers have been able to find weaknesses in this firmware and have been able to partially take control of the previous ME. All this causes the ME prove a big security hole and it has been called a very powerful rootkit mechanism. Once the system is compromised by a rootkit, attackers can gain access to the administration and attack so imperceptibly and undetectable computer.

For its part, Intel seems fully trust the ME. In fact, in new processors with  Core2 series, the ME series cannot be deactivated. As a result, these systems designed to have Intel ME but lacking the firmware (or whose ME firmware is corrupted) will be denied their start, or will shut down shortly after.

For obvious reasons, Intel continues to keep many details about ME in secret and at the moment there is no way that the main CPU will tell if ME on the system has been compromised or not, or any way to repair a compromised ME.

Via: Fudzilla

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