For the last seven years, a large amount of Intel workstation and server chips have contained a security flaw that could be used to remotely control and infect systems with spyware. The flaw is in Intel’s Active Management Technology(AMT), Standard Manageability(ISM) and Small Buisness Technology(SBT) firmware versions 6 to 11.6. The security hole allows an unprivileged attacker to gain access and control to features that are provided by these products. This means that right under the Operating system, a hacker could quietly tamper with the machine. They could use AMT’s features to install virtually undetectable malware. Also, because AMT has direct access to the computers network hardware, it is possible for the attack to go across the network.

These insecure management features have been available in Intel chipsets for nearly a decade. Starting with the Intel Q57 family all the way up to this years Kaby Lake Core Parts. The worst part of it all is that the security flaw lies underneath the operating system, its applications and any sort of antivirus. The only way to fix said issue is to install a firmware level update that you would have to get from your machine’s manufacturer. According to Intel, the vulnerability only affects businesses and server boxes, because usually those AMT present and enabled, where as systems aimed at ordinary folks which typically don’t.

It is now up to your computers manufacturer to distribute the signed firmware patches for IT admins and people to install. This means if your hardware supplier is one of the big dogs like Dell, Lenovo or one of the HP’s, you’ll hopefully see an update soon. In low margin businesses, things like security and firmware distribution is too much work. Meaning if you have a no name slinger, there is a good chance you will never see a firmware update.

Security is a huge priority in the I.T. world. Even Intel isn’t perfect.

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