GeekNights Monday - IME, Intel, and You


#1

Tonight on GeekNights, we consider the potential dangers of IME, Intel's hidden full MINIX OS in your CPU. In light of a demonstrable exploit via JTAG over USB, it's a serious concern. In the news, Firefox Quantum is ridiculously fast and Amazon dips into ad-supported video.

You should definitely seek out the GeekNights Forum! There's stuff in there!

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Episode Links


#2

That outro thing Rym posted gets stuck in my head all the time.


#3

I have read The Odyssey. Odysseus is indeed a shit head, which is why I do not like The Odyssey. PENELOPE DESERVES BETTER.

(As far as Greco-Roman gods go, I figure I’m all right so long as I can get Persephone to like me. If the Iron Queen of the Underworld is on your side, then the other gods ain’t got nothin’ on you.)


#4

https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~davide/bad_thing.html


#5

As the last remaining user of mouse gestures, the move to Quantum is annoying.


#6

@apreche wasn’t lying Quantum is the shit.


#7

Exposing JTAG over a USB port sounds like an exploit waiting to happen. Commercial products usually don’t even use standard pinouts so you have to build a special cable / jig before you even get physical access to the device, then open it up to get to the programming header / pads.

Edit: After reading up on it, any system pre-2015 (Skylake) doesn’t support JTAG over USB, and it’s disabled by default so most consumer goods are probably relatively safe.


#8

Ok, DownThemAll isn’t getting a Quantum version for like a month so now I’m actually almost regretting upgrading.


#9

#10

So… in Afghanistan none of the computers able to access the military networks had USB drives. You couldn’t install anything without getting it approved, like a mouse or a printer etc etc.


#11

I interned at an army lab near DC, and they had USB port disabled on all networked computers and the only way to transfer data between networked and un-networked computers was DVDs.


#12

TL;DR; the Windows fix to plug the hole on the software level will cause a performance drop of 17-23% in all Intel CPUs manufactured in the last decade.


#13

Is this why the Intel CEO sold stock today?


#14

Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if that were the case. For years I have been ride or die for Intel hardware based on reliability. This is a disaster. I already have an older but serviceable PC, but with a six year old i5 I’m going to be on the higher end of that performance loss and I can’t afford a new AMD motherboard and processor right now.


#15

Would surprise me, because that looks an awful lot like insider trading. Executives’ trades get scrutinized quite a bit, I think.


#16

Tell that to the Equifax execs who seem to have gotten away with it.


#17

The stock was sold properly. Everyone was told that the CEO sold the stock. It wasn’t some secret sell off. Also, information about this exploit is out as well. Seems above board to me.

I’m more concerned about the state of CPUs. I was planning to buy a new PC in a few months when NVidia 11 series arrives. NVidia can’t get in the CPU game fast enough.


#18

Right, I’m not skeptical he sold it, I’m skeptical it was because of this vulnerability.


#19

It comes down to WHEN did he sell it, before the release of the info or after? Even if he found out about the vulnerability got set to sell and then sold like 60 seconds after the announcement, then he’d skirt the law,
Source: interned in a compliance office


#20

When he published the plan to sell I think. How far in advance has this been planned? Months? A year? More? Pretty sure execs don’t decide to buy or sell their own stock on a whim, precisely because of the insider trading implications.

I mean maybe it is shady. I’m sure the SEC will check it out.