Three generations of Intel processors are vulnerable to management engine bug

It’s rare that the kids, parents, and grandparents are affected by any one problem, but that’s exactly what’s happened with the case of the recently discovered Management Engine bug in Intel processors. The exploit, which makes it possible for the remote takeover of a system, affects not only the latest, eighth generation of Intel CPUs, but the seventh and sixth generations as well (even the best ones).

But this bug doesn’t stop there. On top of affecting almost all desktop and laptop systems sold with Intel hardware since 2015, Xeon processor lines like the E3-1200 v5 and V6 are affected too. As Ars Technica points out, this bug also hits the Atom range of C3000 processors, the E3900 series for Internet of Things devices, and the Apollo Lake Pentium and Celeron N and J series processors.

The problem in Intel’s Management Engine (ME) firmware actually enables four different potential exploits, with different versions of the ME affected by different ones. The most severe bug was discovered by researchers in the latest version of the firmware; it allows remote code execution, which potentially allows the takeover of an entire system without having access to the hardware.

Other, somewhat less serious exploits, make it possible to cause system crashes or instability, and to access privileged information about the system.

Despite the widespread nature of the bug(s), there isn’t much consumers can do about it as of yet. Intel has released a detection tool to find out if your system is one of those vulnerable to its effects, with options for a command-line interface and a more consumer-friendly general user interface option. Both highlight what hardware and software your system is running and whether you may be vulnerable to this newly discovered flaw.

If you know or suspect you are affected, the best advice Intel is offering, for now, is to keep an eye on your motherboard or system manufacturer’s website and update your drivers and firmware as and when you can. Lenovo is expected to get an update out by November 23. Dell has confirmed that some 100 of its systems are affected by this bug, though it hasn’t given a time frame for when its firmware update will be released.


Playing ‘Battlefield V’ on an $800 Nvidia card is stunning. And disappointing

‘Battlefield V’ is the first game to use Nvidia’s ray tracing support, now available with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards. The feature can, in an ideal scenario, make the game look better, but the performance hit may not be…
Product Review

Flexible and fast, HP's Spectre x360 is the 2-in-1 for every occasion

HP’s late-2017 refresh of the Spectre x360 13 convertible 2-in-1 leverages Intel’s eighth-generation CPUs for significantly improved performance and battery life. The thin and light frame is also tweaked, and looks better than ever.

Microsoft Surface Studio 2: Everything you need to know

Microsoft's Surface Studio 2 comes with a new CPU, new graphics card, and a brighter display -- but is all of that worth the higher cost? Here's everything you need to know about the Surface Studio 2.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.

Hacker finds Steam bug that unlocks free games, collects $20K for reporting it

Security researcher Artem Moskowsky discovered a Steam bug that allowed him to generate infinite free keys for any game. Instead of abusing the exploit, Moskowsky reported it to Valve, which gave him a $20,000 reward.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…

HP takes $100 off of leather-clad Spectre Folio 13 bundle for Black Friday

HP is offering a discount to Black Friday shoppers for a bundle that includes its leather-wrapped answer to Apple's MacBook Air. HP is offering a $100 discount on the Spectre Folio 13 when bundled with a mouse and leather sleeve.

Save a heap with these Black Friday 2018 graphics card deals

The Black Friday 2018 sales period is finally here and it's brought with it a tonne of great component deals. We've been scouring websites and catalogs for days to find you the best graphics cards deals for Black Friday 2018.

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…

Ditch the passwords and buy Xbox games with just your face

Passwords are the past. The latest version of Windows 10 allows you to sign in with your Microsoft account on the web through Microsoft Edge using Windows Hello or a FIDO 2 Yubikey. 

Canceling Amazon Prime is easy, and you might get a refund

Don't be intimidated. Learning how to cancel Amazon Prime is easier than you might think. You might even get a partial or full refund on the cost, depending on how much you've used it. Check out our quick-hit guide for doing so.

Editing a PDF is easy when you have the right tools in hand

Editing PDF files can be a real pain, but there are a few tricks to make the process a bit easier. This guide will give you three easy methods for how to edit a PDF, two of which work without needing Adobe Acrobat.