Security researchers identified a significant security flaw with Intel AMT(Active Management Technology) utilized for remote monitoring and maintenance in corporate workplaces and it can be found in Intel vPro-enabled processors.
The flaw allows attackers to gain remote access to your laptops within seconds by simply log in using the default password and then enabling remote access by changing user permission.
BIOS password is to Prevent unauthorized access to the system and the problem here is attacker does not need BIOS password to setup AMT.
Intel busy in providing patches for Meltdown and Spectre which affects Intel, AMD, ARM processors and this unexpected behavior in Intel AMT reported by security F-secure security researchers. We hope firmware updates will be available soon.
How an attacker can Exploit – Intel AMT
The attacker needs to have a few seconds of Physical access to exploit and cannot be exploitable over the network.
“The attack is almost deceptively simple to enact, but it has incredible destructive potential. In practice, it can give a local attacker complete control over an individual’s work laptop, despite even the most extensive security measures,” Sintonen says.
The attack starts simply by rebooting the system and after an initial screen by pressing ctrl+p to get AMT’s Management. Then by entering default password “admin” attacker can gain access to AMT and configures AMT to allow remote access.
The attacker should reside in the same network to access the compromised machine, they can get full access to the site through VNC and can modify any data, you can find Technical details in F-secure.
Mitigations Suggested – Intel AMT
Researchers recommended to go through all currently deployed devices and configure the AMT password or disable the functionality completely and narrow the list of remotely connected devices.
Never leave your devices unmonitored in an unreliable area, Your screen may display blinking borders during remote management over AMT. Contact your organization’s IT department in case this happens.