PARIS, France – A new security vulnerability has been found in Intel that could allow hackers to gain access to corporate laptops remotely, Finnish cyber security specialist F-Secure, said, Friday, January 12.
F-Secure said in a statement that the flaw had nothing to do with the “Spectrum” and “Fusion” of vulnerabilities recently discovered in the micro-chips that are used in almost all computers, tablets and smartphones today.
It was rather a problem within Intel Active Management Technology (AMT), “which is commonly found in most laptops, (and) allows an attacker to take complete control over a user’s device in a matter of seconds,” the cybersecurity firm said.
“The problem potentially affects millions of laptops in the world.”
The flaw was “almost shocking simplicity, but its destructive potential is unbelievable,” said F-Secure consultant Harry Sintonen, who discovered it.
“In practice, this vulnerability could give a hacker complete control over the affected computer laptop, despite the best security measures.”
An attacker would first need a physical access to the device in question.
But once they had re-configured the AMT, they could actually “back-door” of the machine, and then access the device remotely, by connecting to the same wireless network as the user, F-Secure, said.
In some cases, the attacker may also program the AMT to connect to their own server, which would eliminate the need to be in the same network segment as the victim.
“No other security measures — full disk encryption, firewalls, anti-malware or a VPN — are in a position to prevent exploitation of this issue.”
A successful attack would lead to the complete loss of the confidentiality, integrity and availability, F-Secure, said.
The attacker would be able to read and modify all data and applications, a user may have access on their computer. And they could also install malicious software on the device, even at the level of the firmware.
F-Secure expert Sintonen said that companies needed to define a safe AMT password or maybe disable the AMT completely if possible.
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