Critical Intel Vulnerability Disclosed
By Roger Murray | May 12th, 2017
As many have seen in the news, Intel – the popular manufacturer of server & computer processors – disclosed the existence of a vulnerability which enables hackers to take control over an entire network infrastructure with dire consequences. The vulnerability allows malicious parties to destroy not only the physical hardware & data records, but any cloud configurations & backups as well.
The disclosure is being described as one of, if not the most, impactful security concern in memorable history. It exploits the Active Management Technology (AMT) which enables IT administrators or Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to perform tasks like network monitoring & routine maintenance, system update deployments, upgrades, & patches. Once the AMT is compromised, the ability to control remote power ups or downs, perform cycle resets, or access & change BIOS settings are lost. The vulnerability stems from Intel’s AMT technology, which is embedded on most server motherboards that permit Out of Band Management (OOB) tasks for workstations & servers. OOB technology allows IT administrators – or in this case outside hackers – to manage security, update change remote configurations, and control power management. Note that this vulnerability greatly affects software as well.
There are currently numerous updates & patches in development to address the problem, however, no solution currently exists. In the interim, we recommend the following to mitigate the effect of this vulnerability:
- Determine if your organization has an Intel AMT capable system
- Analyze & identify the susceptibility using vulnerability management tools
- Ensure all firmware updates are installed & current
- If there are any end-of-life/unsupported devices which are not receiving regular updates, remote them immediately. Most identified cases have occurred on unsupported hardware.
For additional insight, we recommend the following resources which can provide more clarity regarding the potential impact for your organization’s operations & technology investments:
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