Russian ARM processor (maybe for Pyra? :P)


doragasu

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This interface has access to the machine even when it is powered off
No.
“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.”
 

TrashyMG

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“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.”
Well that is different than a full powered off situation.. I suggest turning off the switch on the power supply or pulling the plug in this situation if it concerns people.
 
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WizardStan

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“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.”
Well, someone said it on the internet so it must be true.Seriously, this guy has posted no evidence. I've searched for this, no one else has found anything either. All articles about this secret 3G processor point directly back to the Popular Resistance article, either saying "look what this guy found" or "look what the crazies think is possible now".

The article reads like someone who read the vPro white paper, read "direct hardware link between Intel AT and the 3G module" and "remote unlock via a 3G network" and jumped over several conclusions to arrive at a conspiracy theory.

There are so many things wrong in the article, not just questionable things that can't be verified, or even misunderstandings leading to wrong conclusions, I mean he is literally making up stuff that is either not physically possible or requires such a massive interconnect between so many different companies and working parts that it would mean there is no escape.

Just, that whole article...

e39.png


NO!
 
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notaz

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Have you actually used that vPro thing?

It's sort of like a SoC (I guess) as it does full ethernet networking and even runs a web server while the system is in shutdown state, but still connected to power. You can do things like starting the system, forwarding video output and mounting virtual drives, which even makes installing OS possible without physical access to the PC, all through the network. It's rather cool but also scary at the same time, you have to set a password to use it but who knows how secure their implementation is. At least from machine I'm using now it could easily access Internet too if it wanted. Imagine the malware possibilities this thing exposes.. I haven't researched if it can talk to other devices on the motherboard, but I don't see why not.
 

Exophase

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Unfortunately backdoors inside processors might be a reality. Some intel processors (starting with core vPro ones, but now in every core iX after Sandy Bridge) have a 3G interface used for administration and "anti-theft". This interface has access to the machine even when it is powered off, and it is rumored that has a backdoor. Right now you have not to worry unless you have 3G in your PC, but I would not feel comfortable with a 3G enabled laptop having one of these processors.

http://www.infowars.com/91497/

This also makes me wonder if this technology might work also with other ubicuous network interfaces (WiFi, Ethernet)...
I think you misread your link, they're not claiming a special 3G interface (which would at least be plausible and probably have useful applications), but an actual fully integrated 3G solution inside the processor. Which (like most things posted on Infowars) is bullshit of the highest order. Anyone who knows anything about current manufacturing technology and Intel's technology in general knows that they don't have a fully contained wireless solution embedded inside their desktop processors. Nobody is putting 3G radios/transceivers integrated on chips (just baseband processors), much less the antenna, and Intel hasn't even shown that level of integration. It's really hilarious to think that they'd have this technology in products but are failing to actually commercialize it when it'd make a big difference in their struggle to gain marketshare in the mobile space.

Here's a good read if you want more scrutiny: http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1219245

Being able to power and administer an "off" computer remotely is nothing new, wake on LAN has been available for a long time. Intel's AMT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Active_Management_Technology) is basically an extension of that. Yeah you can have an NSA backdoor in this, but it'd be implemented through the ethernet controller, not the CPU. It's reasonable to not trust Intel's ethernet controller, and I'm sure Russia has tons of options for getting other ethernet controllers. But only Intel makes x86 CPUs like Intel, and getting rid of the CPUs themselves instead of taking obvious measures to keep them disconnected is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. And that's why I think it's silly. I don't know exactly what these Russian government workers do but I know if my employer (primarily government contractor) were forced to start using Cortex-A57s exclusively there'd be a big drop in productivity.

I'm going to stand by my original assertion here - if you have a properly secured Intel CPU running your own trusted code (especially if it's code only you know about) and connected to your own trusted peripherals I don't see a very plausible opportunities for a backdoor. The CPU would have to modify your code to do what it wants and I'm really skeptical that this can happen, much less is happening.

Have you actually used that vPro thing?

It's sort of like a SoC (I guess) as it does full ethernet networking and even runs a web server while the system is in shutdown state, but still connected to power. You can do things like starting the system, forwarding video output and mounting virtual drives, which even makes installing OS possible without physical access to the PC, all through the network. It's rather cool but also scary at the same time, you have to set a password to use it but who knows how secure their implementation is. At least from machine I'm using now it could easily access Internet too if it wanted. Imagine the malware possibilities this thing exposes.. I haven't researched if it can talk to other devices on the motherboard, but I don't see why not.
But despite all of this the ethernet controller or whatever else connects to the outside world still needs to be complicit in the backdoor. Regardless of what peripherals the CPU is connected to it can't just take them over and make them do as it pleases.
 
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WizardStan

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But despite all of this the ethernet controller or whatever else connects to the outside world still needs to be complicit in the backdoor.
That's what I meant: either what this Stone fellow is proposing is ludicrous or everyone is in on it in which case you may as well buckle in and enjoy the ride to hell.
 

Exophase

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That's what I meant: either what this Stone fellow is proposing is ludicrous or everyone is in on it in which case you may as well buckle in and enjoy the ride to hell.
Right, and Russia can basically use non-USA (or their own) equivalents for just about everything but the CPU part and the motherboard chipset, without much impact to government work. That is, as far as hardware is concerned. They would probably lose productivity fully dropping Windows, which is far more likely to be compromised by the NSA than the CPU, but at least you can make up some of the loss with Wine and ReactOS.
 

ThinkPad

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The vPro can be turned on/off in the BIOS, and it was off on my machine by default.

I have it on my T510 (i5 560M) but the vPro is a useful thing for me. I use daily a virtual vBox/GNS3 networking environment with 64 bit Vmachines.
 
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doragasu

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I know the "3G embedded in the processor" claims are "tinfoil madness", and that's the reason for me not mentioning it. It's stupid for lots of reasons, just to say one: desktop PCs motherboards are inside faraday cages, so the 3G chip would have hard time sending/receiving EM signals.

But a lot other things might (or might not) be right. Thay vPro thing has an always on (unless you unplug the cord or presumably disable it in the BIOS) core, that has access to all/most peripherals (just watch the promo animation from Intel). I don't know what prevents it from powering a hard disk and accessing its contents. And as vPro is in charge of disk encryption, I don't know what prevents it of bypassing it. The fact that the vPro core is running a web server capable of accessing the system even when the computer is powered down, should raise lots of eyebrows. And the fact that the code executed by the processor is privative, makes things a lot worse. Even if Intel/NSA/whoever have not installed a backdoor, nobody guarantees the system has no exploitable vulnerabilities.

This is not nearly similar to Wake on LAN. WoL just monitors packets and powers on the system if a packet matches a pattern. Somebody attacking a WoL enabled PC could turn it on, but then he/she would still have to bypass OS security to access the system. It is not the same case here.
 
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Exophase

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What I meant to say was it's no more vulnerable than WOL + some form of netboot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_booting), which has been a standard configuration on hardware that predates AMT by many years - I have Core 2 laptops that I can gain control of this way with the proper configuration and without bypassing OS security. Why be any more suspicious of AMT when a backdoor or exploit could give you full control of the system this way instead? If there's a backdoor now why be sure there wasn't a backdoor then?

The point is, both ways require the communications device to be complicit in the backdoor or vulnerability, you can't gain access without it. I still stand by my argument that it's easy to secure the CPU using trusted peripherals.

I don't know what, if anything, that embedded core does with regards to disk encryption (vPro is a blanket term for a bunch of technologies), but if you use your own encryption solution I strongly doubt it has any way of decrypting your disk.
 
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Exophase

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sorry, but how do you know it's really off? because the bios tells you?
You could try using it and see if it works, for one thing.

Then you ask, "but how do you know that the secret backdoor isn't still on?" And I'd respond "why did you only become afraid of secret backdoors based on what's officially known about Intel's technology?" Point is, that a secret backdoor wouldn't be part of the technology.
 
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