New Intel Chips Contain Back-Door Processor, Hackable Even When Computer is Turned Off

New Intel-Based PC’s Permanently Hackable

So you think no one can access your data because your computer is turned off. Heck it’s more than turned off, you even took the main hard drive out, and only the backup disk is inside. There is no operating system installed at all. So you KNOW you are safe.

Frank from across the street is an alternative operating systems hobbyist, and he has tons of computers. He has Free BSD on a couple, his own compilation of Linux on another, a Mac for the wife, and even has Solaris on yet another. Frank knows systems security, so he cannot be hacked . . . or so he thinks.

The government does not like Frank much, because they LOVE to look at everything. Privacy is a crime don’t you know, and it looks like Frank’s luck with privacy is about to run out.

The new Intel Core vPro processors contain a new remote access feature which allows 100 percent remote access to a PC 100 percent of the time, even if the computer is turned off. 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. As long as the power supply is available and 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.

This is being touted as something that makes IT administration easy. It is being advertised as something that will allow IT professionals the ability to remotely troubleshoot a PC no matter what is wrong with it. It allows IT professionals to view the contents of hard drives, check the memory, or hunt for problems on a machine without actually being in front of it. And to that, I call B.S, outside of snooping it’s only real world applications would involve accessing a recovery partition and restoring the computer to out of box state, installing software outside the knowledge of the main operating system, and secretly placing or deleting files.

But the intelligence agencies LOVE THIS. Because Frank is going on vacation soon and they know it. They have listened to all of his calls. They KNOW frank is a terrorist, because they have never been able to access anything Frank has done with a PC, and who would hide their use, other than a criminal? Frank keeps his computers up to date, and THREE of them now have Core vPro processors in them, and when Frank is gone, they are going to get their chance to access ALL of his files because the main backup hard disk went into the newest machine.

Real world use for Core vPro processors will involve the following:

Accessing any PC anywhere, no matter what operating system is installed, even if it is physically disconnected from the internet. You see, Core vPro processors work in conjunction with Intel’s new Anti Theft 3.0, which put 3g connectivity into every Intel CPU after the Sandy Bridge version of the I3/5/7 processors. Users do not get to know about that 3g connection, but it IS there. Frank was not stupid so he unplugged his router. Unfortunately for Frank, that won’t work, because anti theft 3.0 always has that 3g connection on also, even if the computer is turned off. Sorry frank, you were good with operating systems, but did not know everything about hardware. And now the real reason for your finicky security habits will be known to the NSA – you found a way to route photons to any place in the world without any sort of cable. You revolutionized communications. You were going public when you returned from your vacation, but thanks to your new Core vPro processors, a major communications firm is going to go public with your invention BEFORE you get home, and your research will be deleted and replaced with “criminal activity” so you will be arrested when you get back and unable to speak about the theft of your invention. Fascism is GREAT.

If a system has the ram chips pulled, a Core vPro processor will read the hard disk anyway because it has all the ram it needs embedded in the vPro core.

If you encrypted your hard drive, a Core vPro processor will read it anyway, because it snagged your encryption key. If your system has been taken apart, and has no video card, ram, floppy, or hard drive, your Core vPro processor nailed you, because you left a flash drive plugged in. Or a CD in the CD drive. And what about that web cam?

The bottom line? The Core vPro processor is the end of any pretend privacy. 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.

If you believe Intel’s cheerful hype about these processors making things more secure than ever, think again, because any processor which allows a machine to be accessed even when it’s turned off equates to an information tyrant’s dream come true. Please engage your brain while watching this, the security pitch is unadulterated B.S. These processors in fact represent an absolute breach of security no matter how they are marketed. From the technical viewpoint of someone who worked for an intelligence agency, I call B.S. on Intel, avoid these processors like the plague!

  • wilfred picard

    slip your laptop in a farraday bag. problem solved

  • Someone

    What if you disconnect the DSL when you are not using it and don’t have A built in wireless receiver?

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  • Foppe

    Is the remote access visible to the local user then? Why should the wait until you’re gone?

  • Good stuff

    Comical =) you should be an onion tech writer.

  • Erik

    You really ought to unplug your computers when you go on vacation. Never know what kind of storms will roll through.

  • Wesley Cooper

    Even a faraday bag won’t protect you. The Core vPro processor comes with “phantom ethernet” that will route signals right through your faraday bag.

  • Ruki

    Or, at least when you’re not on the internet, how about putting a lead apron over your box?

  • James Chase

    This is the biggest B.S. I’ve heard lately. Stop frightening people for no good reason. Even if there is such a possibility it doesn’t mean that it’s that simple to use. And most importantly – there are more efficient and stealthier ways to get all the data NSA want’s to without your knowledge. Stop being such a paranoid and live your life.

  • boo

    Jim, you’re possibly one of the least competent and most paranoid ‘tech journalists’ i’ve ever seen. FOX News would be proud of the inane FUD that you are propagating.

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  • DaveK

    You’re not a great believer in having evidence for anything you say, are you?

  • Shouou

    lol what a funny joke even if it was true, the power output range would be only reach 15cm.

    Tinfoil hat reporting at its best.

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  • Oniscus

    Go to AMD my mom used to tell me…I should listen to her…

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  • Mihai D

    Why should I disconnect my mobile phone when on the plane if every laptop in the cabin tries to connect to 3G Networks, even if turned off?

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  • bdi

    3G device is NOT built into the intel chips, but they are capable of using the 3G device of the computer.

  • Dr.Mefityiszto (@tahyk)

    There’s nothing new in this. It is all known for years and well documented. This is a corporate/enterprise feature for IT admins. By the way the corporation owns those computers and not the employee. There’s no conspiracy theory here. If you happen to buy a vPro Core i5/i7 but you don’t buy the SMB or the AT you can’t even activate the function, and noone is able to remotely turn on your computer. I hope the author is happy about the income generated by the increased visitor count using fake news.

  • Ira Friedwald

    I’d love to know who’s paying for that 3G connectivity. It has to be routed through some provider and they will want to be paid for the bandwidth. Since no one has actually signed up for the service — at least no one who owns the equipment has — how will this scheme actually work?
    Total nonsense. And since I worked in the Intel cleanroom actually helping develop these chipsets, I’d think I’d have heard something about it.

  • e8hffff

    AMD also has Active Management Technology under another name. The difference is Intel Anti-Theft Technology.

    I haven’t researched yet what they are using as an antenna if the 3G is really available or if it’s an optional product that one puts a SIM Card in of your choice.

    As far as I know AMT can’t turn on devices that use the 12V rail. It’s only the 5V access to memory and rudimentary processing, else the owner would notice the computer kick in fans and HD spinning, etc. The processing is also basic push and pops of data.

    An innovative coder could read data in AMT mode and store a parcel of data ready to be transmitted when the computer is running Microsoft Windows.

    If you want to protect privacy;

    * Do not use the ‘sleep’ or ‘hibernate’ mode as your memory image will be stored ready for when you want to restart back up. The problem is that memory could be read by AMT access.

    * Turn computer off at wall or poll switch on PSU

    * Turn off AMT if option in Bios

    * Turn off wake-up in Bios for LAN Ports. Enable green-mode for LAN ports.

    * Possibly trip 5v from CPU when in standby mode by electronic solution

    * Make sure desktop computer case is full metal, no portholes if you think there is a secret 3G ability with its own ID to talk to local tower.

  • e8hffff

    I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

    Have you consider;
    * PoE
    * Low powered communications chips. Example you can recharge a mobile phone with your USB when the computer is in standby displaying that there is enough power to run a mobile phone.
    * Data manipulation so that a data-parcel could be sent next time the computer is live online.

  • fero

    have AMD cpu’s these stuff too?

  • e8hffff

    I said Microsoft Windows, as it would require complicit assistance from OS maker to send the data-parcel or a compromised application/program/process. Most of Linux code is open source and is heavily code scrutinized, therefore safer.

    I would not use Microsoft Products. Apple questionable too.

  • Tommy

    This isn’t news – CPU’s have had this feature for a long time, buddy.

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  • Anon Drake

    You aren’t going to fit a 3G device inside of a CPU core, there would have to be an external antenna and some sort of amplifier. Someone should build a receiver and see if they can detect any signal coming from one. But, I have my doubts. :)

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  • abadidea

    I suppose actually reading the spec sheet is way too much work for your people. The idea of fitting an entire cellular radio in the main chip is absolutely ludicrous and the material PLAINLY SAYS it works via a LINK to an OPTIONAL CARD of the sort you may or may NOT have. We have enough problems with things the NSA is ACTUALLY doing without making up magical unicorn-powered cellular radios in places it’d be absurdly expensive and pointless to put them.

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  • Ongar

    Here is a link to Intel bragging about what there processors can do. Need anymore proof?

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    NO it routs the data through the subspace frequencies that have been developed by aliens at AREA 51! Its all clear we dont need electricity they can spy on all our data even when it had NO POWER!
    Sounds like C R A P to me. O and by the way RF doesnt propagate through metal, EVEN for the NSA!!! So even if there is NO 3G near the CHIP what subspace frequencies (Startrek) does it use!! Spock beam me up! And even what about other countries? 3G isnt same in all countries.
    Good on abadidea well put!! READ THE SPECS!!! Cell radios dont work form CHIPS without ANTENNA!! Physics boys get a life. Stone your a scaremonger.

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  • peepoo

    its 3G as long as its within cell tower line of site it is accessible

  • peepoo

    slip laptop into trash compactor, freedom achieved

  • peepoo

    He was establishing mood with ‘gone’….

  • peepoo

    Phantom power remember. Unplugged wont matter, chip can operate from stored capictors on MotherBoard

  • peepoo


  • peepoo

    Any metal in the machine will work tough guy. How big is the antennae in an iphone? Size of antennae irrelevant with impedance matching… whatever. I have had several laptops with a 3g card in them, they are small. They did not directly connect to the wifi antennae…

    Tis yourself who need read what it is….

  • youknowwho

    It requires an antenna at the very least. Without a special motherboard the “hidden” wireless in the CPU is useless.

  • test

    Very good find!!
    We are at cross road where you can not trust no electric devices from any company!!
    We need to explore open sourced 3d printed processor and motherboards and other devices and software soon!!

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  • Aladda Vajinah

    For you guys giving ol’ Jim a hard time, check this out. Go to the site and watch Intel’s promotional video.

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  • Dee

    This is true, but having an encrypted FOLDER is not having an encrypted DRIVE. So no, the Linux whipping boy still wins, my man. Nice try, though!

    Read the documentation before spreading such crap around. The walkthroughs are all on Windows software using Bitlocker; not, say, Ubuntu using an encrypted home folder, where all the personal stuff is. Ubuntu boots fine, and the drive is still labeled as unencrypted – the decryption happens on a per-user basis, not a low-level per-drive basis.

  • zlop

    A long time ago, processor identification was promoted.
    Due to public objection, it was discontinued.
    However, other tracking and verification methods were introduced.

    Who do you trust, are trojans microcoded ?
    Even Linus was approached to sabotage Linux security.
    Everything has to be open source.

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  • Christian Abel

    Please…. of course some chips are optimized for low power use, like the chips used in mobile phones. Everyone knows that.

    But hard disk? The CPU?

    And what USB and standby mode has to do with this?

    PoE is for low power devices, and most switches do not provide PoE.

    Also there is the 3G network issue, the antenna issue…

    The need for electric power is a physical problem. It is not something you get around with “back door” or “crazy theory about insiders”.

    The need for an antenna is a physical problem. It is not something you get around with “back door” or “crazy theory about insiders”.

    What is next? The NSA puts a secret nuclear device in every chip?

  • Christian Abel

    From a parallel universe?

  • Christian Abel

    Which 3G network?

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  • Hooker Jay

    First off, Intel will lie about specs and will not tell the end-user everything and Intel will aid the NSA in any matter whatsoever – including keeping the end-user ignorant. Wit that said, there’s no way at all to run this 3G device without a power source. And guess what happens when you unplug the computer?!? No +12V stand by voltage. And guess what happens with the cord is removed and you hold the power and reset buttons in?!? You drain the motherboard’s capacitors completely.

    That leaves only one potential power source: a pithy 3V CR3032 battery. No way in hell to run a 3G device on that. It hard enough for that battery to retain CMOS data 24/7 for 3 to 5 years (provided its a good quality battery from Panasonic, Duracell, Energizer, Maxell). Since that Intel motherboard comes from a Foxconn plant in Taiwan, the battery is most likely a shoddy old thing from Hong Kong or Korea that you’ll end up replacing within the first 8 to 18 months …

  • Gavin Williams

    I’d imagine people are concerned about “Wi-Fi Direct” working in the background on mobile chipset systems.

  • randy

    what are you inhaleing? just so I can avoid it myself

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  • Jamie Fry

    There is nothing on the planet that is 100% secure. Everything is eventually hackable, where there is a will there is most certainly a way. I agree with most of the comments on here though, this article looks to be written solely with the intent of stirring up fear. WAKE UP. If the govt. wants you, they already have you. Google has every single search you’ve ever submitted, they have every email you’ve ever sent through GMAIL, they have every text you’ve ever sent from your android device, and they ping your mobile devices location and record it constantly. There is no magical unicorn fart 3g connection coming from your computers processor.

  • Øystein H. Kielland

    You no about same in new AMD FX 8-core processor, or this only a Intel problem?

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  • Smokeit

    Nicolas Tesla has figured out wireless charging a 100 years ago. Your telling me you would be able to tell if they are charging your cpu via RF to gain access to your system? Ha ha….

  • Rage4Order

    Simple solution, build an enclosure lined with thick aluminum foil.
    This will block any cell signal to come in. Use wired network and
    Disable or unplug network when not in use.

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  • Justin Steer

    Wow …. just wow. Step away from the tinfoil dude! 3g connectivity inside every single processor. You know how ridiculous that sounds right? Its just pure fantasy. If you want credibility don’t just make shit up….

  • James Haddock

    Hi. My name is James Haddock. I am the inventor of the search used on every cell phone, tablet, and computer in the world; Patent 7,987,168. Every post below this one was written by a herd of ostriches; all of which have their heads stuck deeply down in the sand. That, or they are nsa, fib, cia, and military personnel trying to alter public perception about what they really do. The NSA enjoys breaking up friendships and family relationships on Facebook using their administrative Facebook accounts. They can select any of your Facebook friends and send you private messages or post on you wall and all you will see is a message or post from your Facebook Friend. All the spy industry agencies, military, and law enforcement can read your cellular text messages, and they can watch you in real time, see your computer display, and watch you move your mouse and type. All of this is done without following reason/law/policy/nor rule. There is a digital alliance between the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America. They spy on each other’s citizens, illegally, and report back their findings to the agencies and country of residence of the citizen illegally hacked and spied on. Because of this technology, government, spy, military, and law enforcement have the capability to fill your computer with child pornography without your knowledge, and then come to house and arrest you and take your computer as evidence. The following is important. So pay attention. This nonsense is going to stop! The internet is no longer the playground of a bunch of demented, sick, and paranoid metaphorical “stupid little boys who are playing in their yard with a cardboard box club house, and throwing stones and cars and pedestrians passing by.” I’m going to go quiet now. I have a HUGE MESS to clean up; yet again. And this time the stupid little boys are going to get a SPANKING! from their mom! Watch! It will happen as I say. I promise…. Hmpf!

  • kevinzeese

    I hope you will share updates at appropriate times as you clean up the “Huge Mess.”

  • James Haddock

    Just follow my twitter: @hadou_no. In between a bunch of random tweets you”ll find links to other places scattered around the internet. All the aforementioned parties prefer linux backtrack because linux kali dials home and reports user actions. You see, first came backtrack and then Kali. I think the gov and military and spy industry has the largest user acceptance problem I’ve ever seen. None of them want to use kali because then they stalk, harrass, impersonate, and basically commit crime, what I call digital fear and terror. There are reasons that motivate these people, all of which are trapped in a milgram system. Milgram is the guy who did that famous study at yale in which participants believed they were electrocuting a fake stufy participant; Mr. Wallace. If you look where I told you, you’ll see that bunny hole. And it is only one of MANY. Peace.