Backdoor for Intel vPro chipsets?

For 7 years there existed a flaw in Intel chips that made it capable for hijackers to gain total remote control of business computers and use them for malicious purposes or data mining.  It’s called the Intel AMT (active management technology) located on the vPro chipsets which was designed to allow computer running these specific chips to be controlled remotely.  The good of its purpose can lie in the “Hardware integrated management and security solutions like AMT provide powerful capabilities that can do a lot of good, like making power management more efficient and ensuring updates are installed,” said by CTO of Twistlock, John Morello. “However, they sit so low in the stack that any flaw in them effectively means the whole system is owned.”.

            This vulnerability has existed for years, and Intel remained unaware of any exploitation of this flaw.  As much as 8,500 devices are affected by the flaw and are vulnerable with access to the internet. In fact, there are vulnerable devices that could be accessed and exploited by hackers even if they are not connected to the internet.  Intel decided to implement a firmware update to address the problem and are attempting to cooperate with equipment manufacturers to make it accessible to end-users as soon as possible.  The firmware update itself however, isn’t an immediate fix; due to the fact that many organizations are running hardware that are not serviced by the OEM who supplied the equipment.  Morello even states “The reality is that many of those systems will never be fixed and will forever be vulnerable, there’s a high likelihood you’ll see them in a botnet near you one day soon.”.

With this situation you learn that every piece of tech will have it’s vulnerabilities that can lead to a breach of privacy and personal information.  If Intel needs to tighten up their Quality and Assurance department, now sounds like a great time.