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Intel's vPro Core CPUs Can Take SMS ''Poison Pill''

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 36 comments

A matter of life and text.

Along with the latest generation of new Intel Core Sandy Bridge chips comes a new revision of the vPro technology that gives an added layer of security.

To provide stronger defense against the problem of laptop theft and data loss, Intel this week also introduced Intel Anti-Theft Technology Ver. 3.0 (AT 3.0), included on all 2nd generation Intel Core and Core vPro processors.

Previous versions of Intel Anti-Theft Technology enabled authorized IT or service personnel to send a coded "poison pill" over the Internet to completely disable a lost or stolen computer and help prevent access to its encrypted data and deter theft. New Intel AT 3.0 enables the poison pill to be sent as an encrypted, authenticated SMS message by an authorized administrator over a 3G cellular network as well within moments after a missing laptop is turned on. When recovered, the PC can be similarly re-activated with another message. Its new Locator Beacon capability gives authorities the ability to pinpoint a missing laptop using GPS technology on select 3G modems.

Finally, the new Intel AT 3.0 standby protection feature helps protect encrypted PCs that go missing in the vulnerable standby state (S3). When awakened, the new standby protection feature can change normal procedure to require an encryption login, which is much more secure than the usual username and password.

New Intel Identity Protection Technology (IPT) supplements normal password procedures by generating a new six-digit numerical password every 30 seconds to help ensure only authorized access.

The 2nd generation Intel Core vPro processors also help make IT simpler with the new Host-Based Configuration feature that completely automates the process of setting up the vPro functions on even thousands of computers.

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  • 1 Hide
    4745454b , March 11, 2011 8:20 AM
    Nice. I do hope this is all controlled by a separate chip so that you can't just format the OS and become the new admin.
  • -1 Hide
    ceteras , March 11, 2011 10:20 AM
    4745454bNice. I do hope this is all controlled by a separate chip so that you can't just format the OS and become the new admin.


    It's controlled by a separate chip, indeed, it's called a CPU, iirc.
  • 0 Hide
    huron , March 11, 2011 12:30 PM
    I know this has been around for awhile, but this is a really cool technology. Going to seriously look at using this (since we have it in our laptops) for our company.

    But for the SMS messages to work, wouldn't the computer need to be on a cellular network?
  • 0 Hide
    KingArcher , March 11, 2011 12:46 PM
    take out the 3G modem and poison pill never reaches its destination
    Pwn2Own :D 
  • 0 Hide
    mavroxur , March 11, 2011 1:20 PM
    KingArchertake out the 3G modem and poison pill never reaches its destinationPwn2Own



    Integrate the 3G modem on the motherboard, and the thief gets owned.
  • 0 Hide
    Marco925 , March 11, 2011 1:31 PM
    mavroxurIntegrate the 3G modem on the motherboard, and the thief gets owned.

    DESOLDER THE 3G Modem!!!! And the thief pwns
  • 0 Hide
    existencenow , March 11, 2011 1:43 PM
    Marco925DESOLDER THE 3G Modem!!!! And the thief pwns

    Make a nice lil' thermit pack to go FIZZLE on all data if chassis is opened w/o both a phyiscal and multiple digital access keys :)  risky but effective ! PWNT !
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , March 11, 2011 1:55 PM
    Doesn't anyone sees the risk on personal liberties on this?
    Let's suppose you are against a government, you really cause troubles, so... puf, they turn off your PC or smartphone?
    If that was a consolidated technology, Egyptian revolution would never happen!
  • 1 Hide
    Reynod , March 11, 2011 2:21 PM
    Scarey if it gets into the wrong hands.

    I can see some embittered IT manager leaving a company a trainwreck the day after he leaves ...
  • 0 Hide
    illo , March 11, 2011 2:27 PM
    BlarisDoesn't anyone sees the risk on personal liberties on this?Let's suppose you are against a government, you really cause troubles, so... puf, they turn off your PC or smartphone?If that was a consolidated technology, Egyptian revolution would never happen!


    i want to strike you with a hammer. if YOUR laptop gets stolen YOU send the poison pill, work on your reading comprehension please.
  • 0 Hide
    mikem_90 , March 11, 2011 3:09 PM
    illoi want to strike you with a hammer. if YOUR laptop gets stolen YOU send the poison pill, work on your reading comprehension please.


    True, but if this is abused, is this not just another big security hole? You saw how the PS3 keys got out, what is to say that 5-10 years down the road, if this system uses static keys, it becomes a security hole?

    Thousands of computers knocked out by some hacker who finds out how to game the system? Since its built in, you MIGHT be able to get it flashed out in firmware, but maybe not.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 11, 2011 3:11 PM
    @illo

    Since this can just as easily be sent by the company IT as it can be by the individual, then Blaris is far more correct about his fears than you are in dismissing them.
  • 0 Hide
    mikem_90 , March 11, 2011 3:13 PM
    illoi want to strike you with a hammer. if YOUR laptop gets stolen YOU send the poison pill, work on your reading comprehension please.


    Not to mention, the ability to switch on tracking for a PC? Whoah man. Unfriendly Ex, work rival, a boss wanting to spy on you, some company that gets pissed you said something about their corporate image?

    I'd have serious reservations in case what I want to say or do is not popular.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 11, 2011 3:14 PM
    @Blaris

    vPro are found only in business class chips, your standard consumer chips wont sport this, cause it eats up valuable silicone space and requires hardware support, and if really dont trust intel at all then there is always AMD

    @KingArcher and Marco925

    It is my understanding that vPro can also use the wireless and LAN adapter to disable the machine, in reality the moment the machine even smells internet it's toast

    @Reynod

    and thats why they have a reactivation code, in case of mistakes and rough IT admin
  • 0 Hide
    TheWhiteRose000 , March 11, 2011 3:28 PM
    Looks like I'm buying a sandy bridge laptop now.
  • 0 Hide
    illo , March 11, 2011 3:30 PM
    Valkyrie_Ice@illoSince this can just as easily be sent by the company IT as it can be by the individual, then Blaris is far more correct about his fears than you are in dismissing them.


    yes, an IT company can just randomly send kill codes to private property...are you guys just messing with me, or are you actually serious?

    all the damage done to a computer like this, can be UNDONE with another send code, and since you would(hopefully) have both codes, if someone did kill your compy you could just /rez it.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 11, 2011 3:37 PM
    @mikem_90

    seriously you plan on doing that stuff then you do it on a personal machine or one you can secure, come one dude it's a business machine, it's a well known fact that anything you do on a business machine can and is tracked and logged

    @Valkyrie_Ice

    actually it can be setup so the disarm code can only be sent from an authenticated server which is paired to the hardware during setup and everything is encrypted to high heaven. Now if i recall a hacker was able to obtain the encryption key a while back but this required physical access to the machine, lapping the chip down to bear minimum and a x-ray camera......
  • 0 Hide
    rohitbaran , March 11, 2011 3:41 PM
    Will it really affect anything? Data can be recovered by removing the hard disks from the stolen computer? Somebody enlighten me if I am saying it wrong.
  • 0 Hide
    borisof007 , March 11, 2011 3:45 PM
    U.S. Military, please buy a few
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 11, 2011 4:16 PM
    @rohitbaran

    if you got vPro implemented that you got full disk encryption implemented and tied to vPro
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