Intel’s management engine – in most CPUs since 2008 – can be p0wned over USB

Positive Technologies, which in September said it has a way to attack the Intel Management Engine, has dropped more details on how its exploit works.

The firm has already promised to demonstrate God-mode hack in December 2017, saying the bug “allows an attacker of the machine to run unsigned code in the Platform Controller Hub on any motherboard”.

For some details, we’ll have to wait, but what’s known is bad enough: Intel Management Engine (IME) talks to standard Joint Test Action Group (JTAG) debugging ports. As does does USB, so Positive Technologies researchers put the two together and crafted a way to access IME from the USB port.

IME’s problems first emerged in May, when researchers noticed you could access the Active Management Technology running on the microcontroller with an empty login string.

That was patchable, but the IME – a microcontroller that’s got full control over hardware and networking, independently of the operating system – remained in place.

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Source: The Register