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On The Management Engine And The Reality Of Cryptochips

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posted on Apr, 18 2019 @ 12:05 AM
Been reading through the Q-post threads these last few months trying to catch up on them. A lot of fascinating material being highlighted by this mysterious q poster and his trail of breadcrumbs. If you haven't had a look at it, I recommend you do so. There's a lot of interesting dirt flying around in those threads, and any conspiracy minded researcher looking to educate themselves on the realities of government and institutional corruption could do a lot worse than to have a look at the material presented there in my opinion. I would like to briefly thank those members who have toiled within those threads to help share this information with the rest of us.

An interesting post in part one of this series caught my eye:

The post contains a screen shot from some image board where the author of the screenshot post claims to have worked in the management engine department of a computer manufacturer. Said author claims that the management engine set of components in a personal computer's chip set is a hardware level cryptochip system. That the management engine system of components works below the level of the pc's cpu and has access to all of the machine's functions. This Hackaday article is also quoted in the referenced ATS post, verifying the reality of the technology discussed in the poster's claims:

Quoting the Hackaday article, here are a few eye openers for you:

Over the last decade, Intel has been including a tiny little microcontroller inside their CPUs. This microcontroller is connected to everything, and can shuttle data between your hard drive and your network adapter. It’s always on, even when the rest of your computer is off, and with the right software, you can wake it up over a network connection. Parts of this spy chip were included in the silicon at the behest of the NSA.(emphasis mine-badcabbie) In short, if you were designing a piece of hardware to spy on everyone using an Intel-branded computer, you would come up with something like the Intel Managment Engine.

Last week, researchers [Mark Ermolov] and [Maxim Goryachy] presented an exploit at BlackHat Europe allowing for arbitrary code execution on the Intel ME platform. This is only a local attack, one that requires physical access to a machine. The cat is out of the bag, though, and this is the exploit we’ve all been expecting. This is the exploit that forces Intel and OEMs to consider the security implications of the Intel Management Engine. What does this actually mean?

What the Management Engine Is and Does:

Intel’s Management Engine is only a small part of a collection of tools, hardware, and software hidden deep inside some the latest Intel CPUs. These chips and software first appeared in the early 2000s as Trusted Platform Modules. These small crypto chips formed the root of ‘trust’ on a computer. If the TPM could be trusted, the entire computer could be trusted. Then came Active Management Technology, a set of embedded processors for Ethernet controllers. The idea behind this system was to allow for provisioning of laptops in corporate environments. Over the years, a few more bits of hardware were added to CPUs. This was the Intel Management Engine, a small system that was connected to every peripheral in a computer. The Intel ME is connected to the network interface, and it’s connected to storage. The Intel ME is still on, even when your computer is off. Theoretically, if you type on a keyboard connected to a powered-down computer, the Intel ME can send those keypresses off to servers unknown.

Pretty disgusting and a little scary if you ask me, though not really too surprising to those of us who have been paying attention to information technology trends as they have developed in modern times. Not a question of if...More like when and how. More from the article:

For several years now, researchers have been investigating the set of chips Intel has included in their latest CPUs. Unfortunately, Intel decided that closed-source was the way to go, and with that security researchers had an idea of what the Intel ME could do, but had no idea how that was done, and whether or not there were any security holes. This week, that wall was breached. Now anyone can execute arbitrary code on the Intel ME with a USB stick.

This last bit should also be noted:

Consider this Stage One. The ultimate exploit for the ME is one over the network interface. With that, anyone can own an ME-equipped computer from anywhere on the planet. This exploit does not exist yet, and we know this by the fact there isn’t a new, massive botnet mining Bitcoin.

Until that day comes, we’re only left with the realization that yes, the nerds were right. The idea of the NSA putting hardware in every computer sounds absurd, until you realize it actually happened.(emphasis mine-badcabbie)

Over the last few decades, the general population has been dragged kicking and screaming in the world of information security. In the 80s, it was as simple as not writing your password down on a Post-It note. In a few years, we’ll get to the conversation about how Alexas and Google Homes are an Orwellian nightmare. Until then, we’ll have to use the Intel ME exploit as another example of how important security is, and how vital it is to listen to the people telling you, “this is bad”. Code that can’t be audited is code that can’t be trusted.

I have plenty of additional strong opinions I'd like to share, but I shall refrain from doing so in this opening post for the sake of encouraging you to consider the facts of the matter as they are in beginning this discussion. Any posters wishing to debunk this information might first endeavor to perform a web search of the phrase "management engine", where they will find a wealth of articles confirming the accuracy of Hackaday's reporting, unless they are using a censored search engine. Discuss.

Q Thread where the linked post was made(part 1):
Latest Q Thread(part Q):

posted on Apr, 18 2019 @ 02:49 AM
I used to work for a top 3 OEM.

This device is only as exposed as you let it be.

Security starts outside the PC, and ends outside of the PC.

Connecting to this management chip remotely, requires open ports on the network that the engine uses for communication.

If your network is secured properly, this isn't anything to worry about.

If your network has open exposed ports, that allow for remote access? That's easier to resolve than you would imagine.

Not a big deal, really. Most of your information is correct. TPM's were the start, and this chip has low level access to hardware resources on the PC's system board.

These types of chips are not just on corporate client level computers. These types of engines can be found on modern rack servers as well, and will allow for remote management, remote restarting, and remote diagnostics.

Yes, they can be exploited, but if you secure your network, it can make up for local issues.

posted on Apr, 18 2019 @ 07:48 AM
a reply to: Archivalist

JavaScript programmer here.

So, it's pretty much like anything else in programming? A tool, basically? With its associated security protocols?

I am thinking crossdomain attacks and such.

posted on Apr, 18 2019 @ 08:17 AM
Information on this predate this Q person so not a lot of magic there.

posted on Apr, 18 2019 @ 09:16 AM
a reply to: TheBadCabbie

I have been following this situation for some time but it has gotten more concerning lately. With all the router hacks plus thus exploit it is possible, read likely, that a hacker could broadcast and inject code to turn off medical devices. In the case of pacemakers, that could kill 20million plus people in a half a dozen minutes and overwhelm the health care system. This is just one example of exposed critical systems on a personal level that could do massive damage. Step it up to energy infrastructure 15 minutes later and you have a potentially unrecoverable global crisis.

Cheers - Dave

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