Sunday October 22, 2017

Purism Is Offering Laptops with Intel’s Management Engine Disabled

Purism is offering its Librem 13 (US$1,399+, Core i7-6500U) and Librem 15 (US $1,599+, Core i7-6500U) laptops with Intel’s Management Engine turned off, which they accomplish by running open-source coreboot firmware and utilizing recent findings published by Positive Technologies. The Librem laptops also feature physical switches that electrically disconnect the microphone and webcam, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hardware, from the rest of the computer as a privacy defense.

Intel’s Management Engine is widely despised by security professionals and privacy advocates because it relies on signed and secret Intel code, isn't easily alterable, isn't fully documented, and has been found to be vulnerable to exploitation, though the Active Management (AMT) module in recent Management Engines. In short, it's a tiny potentially hackable computer in your computer that you cannot totally control, nor opt-out of, but it can totally control your system.