Intel has issued a security alert that management firmware on a number of recent PC, server, and Internet-of-Things processor platforms is vulnerable to remote attack. Using the vulnerabilities, the most severe of which was uncovered by Mark Ermolov and Maxim Goryachy of Positive Technologies Research, remote attackers could launch commands on a host of Intel-based computers, including laptops and desktops shipped with Intel Core processors since 2015. They could gain access to privileged system information, and millions of computers could essentially be taken over as a result of the bug.
The company has posted a detection tool on its support website for Windows and Linux to help identify systems that are vulnerable. In the security alert, members of Intel's security team stated that "in response to issues identified by external researchers, Intel has performed an in-depth comprehensive security review of its Intel® Management Engine (ME), Intel® Trusted Execution Engine (TXE), and Intel® Server Platform Services (SPS) with the objective of enhancing firmware resilience."
Four vulnerabilities were discovered that affect Intel Management Engine firmware versions 11.0 through 11.20. Two were found in earlier versions of ME, as well as two in Server Platform Services version 4.0 firmware and two in TXE version 3.0.