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“Secret” 3G Intel Chip Gives Snoops Backdoor PC Access

vPro processors allow remote access even when computer is turned off

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
September 26, 2013

Intel Core vPro processors contain a “secret” 3G chip that allows remote disabling and backdoor access to any computer even when it is turned off.

In a promotional video for the technology, Intel brags that the chips actually offer enhanced security because they don’t require computers to be “powered on” and allow problems to be fixed remotely. The promo also highlights the ability for an administrator to shut down PCs remotely “even if the PC is not connected to the network,” as well as the ability to bypass hard drive encryption.

“Intel actually embedded the 3G radio chip in order to enable its Anti Theft 3.0 technology. And since that technology is found on every Core i3/i5/i7 CPU after Sandy Bridge, that means a lot of CPUs, not just new vPro, might have a secret 3G connection nobody knew about until now,”reports Softpedia.

Jeff Marek, director of business client engineering for Intel, acknowledged that the company’s Sandy Bridge” microprocessor, which was released in 2011, had “the ability to remotely kill and restore a lost or stolen PC via 3G.”

“Core vPro processors contain a second physical processor embedded within the main processor which has it’s own operating system embedded on the chip itself,” writes Jim Stone. “As long as the power supply is available and in working condition, it can be woken up by the Core vPro processor, which runs on the system’s phantom power and is able to quietly turn individual hardware components on and access anything on them.”

Although the technology is being promoted as a convenient way for IT experts to troubleshoot PC issues remotely, it also allows hackers or NSA snoops to view the entire contents of somebody’s hard drive, even when the power is off and the computer is not connected to a wi-fi network.

It also allows third parties to remotely disable any computer via the “secret” 3G chip that is built into Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors. Webcams could also be remotely accessed.

“This combination of hardware from Intel enables vPro access ports which operate independently of normal user operations,” reports TG Daily. “These include out-of-band communications (communications that exist outside of the scope of anything the machine might be doing through an OS or hypervisor), monitoring and altering of incoming and outgoing network traffic. In short, it operates covertly and snoops and potentially manipulates data.”

Not only does this represent a privacy nightmare, it also dramatically increases the risk of industrial espionage.

The ability for third parties to have remote 3G access to PCs would also allow unwanted content to be placed on somebody’s hard drive, making it easier for intelligence agencies and corrupt law enforcement bodies to frame people.

“The bottom line? The Core vPro processor is the end of any pretend privacy,” writes Stone. “If you think encryption, Norton, or anything else is going to ensure your privacy, including never hooking up to the web at all, think again. There is now more than just a ghost in the machine.”

Here is the link to the promo video:
http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/enterprise-security/what-is-vpro-technology-video.html
20 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. So ive been reading into this a bit and I think the article might be a little bit off.... This should totally be a security concern and people do need to know how and why their machine is communicating.

    From my understanding this is a version of the poison pill, on the surface, but again how and why is it communicating. Anyone have a smart phone (You nerds, dont lie) your phone has an antennae and a 3g/4g module, those 3g chips are still fairly large and putting one on a processor, or embedded into a high end one doesnt seem to make sense. How well do you think a 3g device would communicate without an antennae, in a chip, under a heat sink, under a fan, in a metal box with all of that interference?

    This is the authors proof that there is an embedded chip in intel processors. Read this and tell me its not some crazy guy.

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Secret-3G-Radio-in-Every-Intel-vPro-CPU-Could-Steal-Your-Ideas-at-Any-Time-385194.shtml

    Even further Wikipedia references this site for their remote 3g shutdown for intel processors.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2369110,00.asp

    All it says is that if your computer (Read laptop) has a 3g connection this "Security Feature" can still be used because 3g is a network just like any other.
  2. Best answer
    If you're using Windows 8.x or Windows Server 2012 you can wrap a PKI cert around the proc (not software/OS based!) and have higher security.

    Additionally, encrypt the hard drive which also can bank on that certificate wrapped around the hardware.

    Old news guys. I'm sure everyone also knew that Intel has been included a TPM chipset since 1999 or 2000 in their procs as well.
  3. wanamingo said:
    So ive been reading into this a bit and I think the article might be a little bit off.... This should totally be a security concern and people do need to know how and why their machine is communicating.

    From my understanding this is a version of the poison pill, on the surface, but again how and why is it communicating. Anyone have a smart phone (You nerds, dont lie) your phone has an antennae and a 3g/4g module, those 3g chips are still fairly large and putting one on a processor, or embedded into a high end one doesnt seem to make sense. How well do you think a 3g device would communicate without an antennae, in a chip, under a heat sink, under a fan, in a metal box with all of that interference?

    This is the authors proof that there is an embedded chip in intel processors. Read this and tell me its not some crazy guy.

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Secret-3G-Radio-in-Every-Intel-vPro-CPU-Could-Steal-Your-Ideas-at-Any-Time-385194.shtml

    Even further Wikipedia references this site for their remote 3g shutdown for Intel processors.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2369110,00.asp

    All it says is that if your computer (Read laptop) has a 3g connection this "Security Feature" can still be used because 3g is a network just like any other.


    I wasn't able to be the links in because My Laptop isn't allowing the buttons to be see on this site, but anyway this guy isn't crazy he has done his research he knows what he is talking about.
  4. I have my doubts, TV and radio reception in my block has always been terrible so I don't see how what would have to be a tiny little all-in-one chip can could get comms anymore than a few millimetres at most.
  5. Mousemonkey said:
    I have my doubts, TV and radio reception in my block has always been terrible so I don't see how what would have to be a tiny little all-in-one chip can could get comms anymore than a few millimetres at most.


    You still don't get it if the computer is plugged in or out for that matter they can still access your computer even some of the new appliances have chips in them the Spy on you, with this Chip they can take total control of your house turn on and off your light switches and above else mess with your thermostat.
  6. ITsonic said:
    Mousemonkey said:
    I have my doubts, TV and radio reception in my block has always been terrible so I don't see how what would have to be a tiny little all-in-one chip can could get comms anymore than a few millimetres at most.


    You still don't get it if the computer is plugged in or out for that matter they can still access your computer even some of the new appliances have chips in them the Spy on you, with this Chip they can take total control of your house turn on and off your light switches and above else mess with your thermostat.


    No they can't because I don't have one! :lol:
  7. ITsonic said:
    Mousemonkey said:
    I have my doubts, TV and radio reception in my block has always been terrible so I don't see how what would have to be a tiny little all-in-one chip can could get comms anymore than a few millimetres at most.


    You still don't get it if the computer is plugged in or out for that matter they can still access your computer even some of the new appliances have chips in them the Spy on you, with this Chip they can take total control of your house turn on and off your light switches and above else mess with your thermostat.


    I call BS on you. Put your tin foil hat on buddy.
  8. riser said:
    ITsonic said:
    Mousemonkey said:
    I have my doubts, TV and radio reception in my block has always been terrible so I don't see how what would have to be a tiny little all-in-one chip can could get comms anymore than a few millimetres at most.


    You still don't get it if the computer is plugged in or out for that matter they can still access your computer even some of the new appliances have chips in them the Spy on you, with this Chip they can take total control of your house turn on and off your light switches and above else mess with your thermostat.


    I call BS on you. Put your tin foil hat on buddy.


    You don't you don't believe me but you will and when you do you will be sorry.
  9. It has to have a battery in order for them to access it.
  10. Unless it also has a built in ZPM of course.
  11. ITSonic you are talking to some decent IT guys and the physics of it dont make any sense.

    It would be fairly easy to figure out if an unplugged tower is broadcasting...with the right equipment. Does anyone even know what kind of signal 3g is?
  12. I have sat in the room with guys demonstrating the technology. It requires a battery.
  13. wanamingo said:
    ITSonic you are talking to some decent IT guys and the physics of it dont make any sense.

    It would be fairly easy to figure out if an unplugged tower is broadcasting...with the right equipment. Does anyone even know what kind of signal 3g is?


    3G is commonly a CDMA transmission in the 1700 - 2100 Mhz range.
  14. Mousemonkey said:
    Unless it also has a built in ZPM of course.
    HA! Good reference!

    riser said:
    Old news guys. I'm sure everyone also knew that Intel has been included a TPM chipset since 1999 or 2000 in their procs as well.
    Agreed, old news. I remember Intel talking about TPM and AMT years ago too. Heck, here's article published right here in THG about it!

    How Hardware-Based Security Protects PCs

    Also, from other related articles, Intel and Government spokespersons stated that this technology was not included in any CPU's sold in the United States. That's what the spokespersons said, not me. I'm just paraphrasing, don't kill the messenger...

    ITsonic said:
    You still don't get it if the computer is plugged in or out for that matter they can still access your computer even some of the new appliances have chips in them the Spy on you, with this Chip they can take total control of your house turn on and off your light switches and above else mess with your thermostat.

    Agreed, the physics do not make sense. I have yet to hear or see any technology that can remotely flip a light switch or remotely change the temperature setting my thermostat without a remote control device attached to it.

    Don't confuse whole home digital/network integration with New World Order and Agenda 21 conspiracy theories.
  15. Ok, This may not be fiction.

    Consider a few thing before jumping to conclusions.

    1. The system doesn't have to run on any regular frequency in use by anyone. Doesn't need to talk to traditional cell sites.
    2. It doesn't have to transmit all the time so it may not be detectable by speakers and what not. It would most likely be dormant/passive until it received a particular RF 'knock-knock' sequence from a requester.
    3. Antenna, you may be able to use a lead or two on CPU pin out for a poor antenna or possibly the casing. Keep in mind it doesn't have to communicate with the nearest cell site. It has to talk to a high power RF signal w/antenna on a drone. I have seen many metal surfaces serve pretty surprisingly as antennas. This signal can be strong when needed and on a military reserved frequency.

    As revealed in the more recent Snowden releases they have black boxes they fly with drones that are designed to hack wifi and more. Imagine this hand in hand with the chipset in the CPU. Although almost everyone is online and owned 5 other easier ways anyway.

    So from an RF and computing perspective, this IS at least possible. Which is scary as hell.

    The NSA does have custom firmware for hard drives, custom BIOS, special chips they add to servers, and more. So this is not too far fetched.
  16. Anonymous said:
    Ok, This may not be fiction.

    Consider a few thing before jumping to conclusions.

    1. The system doesn't have to run on any regular frequency in use by anyone. Doesn't need to talk to traditional cell sites.
    2. It doesn't have to transmit all the time so it may not be detectable by speakers and what not. It would most likely be dormant/passive until it received a particular RF 'knock-knock' sequence from a requester.
    3. Antenna, you may be able to use a lead or two on CPU pin out for a poor antenna or possibly the casing. Keep in mind it doesn't have to communicate with the nearest cell site. It has to talk to a high power RF signal w/antenna on a drone. I have seen many metal surfaces serve pretty surprisingly as antennas. This signal can be strong when needed and on a military reserved frequency.

    As revealed in the more recent Snowden releases they have black boxes they fly with drones that are designed to hack wifi and more. Imagine this hand in hand with the chipset in the CPU. Although almost everyone is online and owned 5 other easier ways anyway.

    So from an RF and computing perspective, this IS at least possible. Which is scary as hell.

    The NSA does have custom firmware for hard drives, custom BIOS, special chips they add to servers, and more. So this is not too far fetched.



    Here is a more plausable scenario,

    The on-chip radio only listens waiting for a signal then even in suspend or hibernate (cause to tge layman it is off, the screen at least). The on chip holds a program that has prepackaged code for the main os's out there that allows a back door to be installed and then the NSA gets in over a the targets internet connection.

    After reading many leaked documents and the work of the companies involved this is more likely the scenario.

    3G is a protocol not just the frequency, lower frequencies penetrate farther and why all the low analog bands are now out of the public sectors use. However 3G wouldnt even be nessasry for this type of attack, no signal at all would be needed if the chip compromises the pc automatically. And the code needed guys wouldnt nees to be big at all. If you can code in Assembly.
  17. ikanunna said:
    Here is a more plausable scenario,

    The on-chip radio only listens waiting for a signal then even in suspend or hibernate (cause to tge layman it is off, the screen at least). The on chip holds a program that has prepackaged code for the main os's out there that allows a back door to be installed and then the NSA gets in over a the targets internet connection.

    After reading many leaked documents and the work of the companies involved this is more likely the scenario.

    3G is a protocol not just the frequency, lower frequencies penetrate farther and why all the low analog bands are now out of the public sectors use. However 3G wouldnt even be nessasry for this type of attack, no signal at all would be needed if the chip compromises the pc automatically. And the code needed guys wouldnt nees to be big at all. If you can code in Assembly.

    That's the great thing about articles like this and conspiracy theories in general, minimum plausibility is usually all anyone needs to start believing that it could actually happen to them.

    Got tinfoil?
  18. No I use AMD chips and live in a lead lined house.
  19. I had posted here that the PC can't talk to the internet without power, so just unplug it.
    but I guess a UUID can be read by the web if the computer is off !
    So... never mind !
  20. .... just send all your data to Utah with your SSN and save everyone a lot of grief !!!
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