Another Defeat of the Intel Management Engine

If you have a computer with an Intel processor that’s newer than about 2007, odds are high that it also contains a mystery software package known as the Intel Management Engine (ME). The ME has complete access to the computer below the operating system and can access a network, the computer’s memory, and many other parts of the computer even when the computer is powered down. If you’re thinking that this seems like an incredible security vulnerability then you’re not alone, and a team at Black Hat Europe 2017 has demonstrated yet another flaw in this black box (PDF), allowing arbitrary code execution and bypassing many of the known ME protections.

[Mark Ermolov] and [Maxim Goryachy] are the two-man team that discovered this exploit, only the second of its kind in the 12 years that the ME has been deployed. Luckily, this exploit can’t be taken advantage of (yet) unless an attacker has physical access to the device. Intel’s firmware upgrades also do not solve the problem because the patches still allow for use of older versions of the ME. [Mark] and [Maxim] speculate in their presentation that this might be fixed on the next version of the ME, but also note that these security vulnerabilities would disappear if Intel would stop shipping processors with the ME.

We won’t hold our breath on Intel doing the right thing by eliminating the ME, though. It’s only a matter of time before someone discovers a zero-day (if they haven’t already, there’s no way to know) which could cripple pretty much every computer built within the last ten years. If you’re OK with using legacy hardware, though, it is possible to eliminate the management engine and have a computer that doesn’t have crippling security vulnerabilities built into it. This post was even written from one. Good luck doing anything more resource-intensive with it, though.

Security flaw bypasses iPhone lock screen

It looks like the iPhone lock screen provides just a marginal level of protection. [Jordand321] discovered a key combination that opens the contact app on a locked iPhone. Just tap the emergency call button, enter the pound sign three times (###), then tap call and immediately tap the lock key on the top of the phone. If this is confusing just look at the video after the break to see how it’s done.

You don’t get access to everything on the device. But this does give an attacker access to all of your contact data and allows that person to make any calls they desire.

Continue reading “Security flaw bypasses iPhone lock screen”

Security flaw allows full access to locked iPhones

[greenmymac] on the MacRumors forums recently exposed a security flaw that allows anyone full access to a locked iPhone running firmware version 2.0.2. The flaw works by entering the emergency call menu of a locked iPhone, and double tapping the home button. This opens the iPhone’s Favorites menu, allowing anyone in your Favorites to be called. From here, an attacker has access to your SMS messages and potentially your email or Safari browser. While we are sure that Apple has a patch for this flaw on the way in the next firmware update, there is a temporary way to secure your locked iPhone. Simply enter the Settings menu on your iPhone and enter General > Home Button and select “Home” or “iPod”. Now when you double tap your home button, it will navigate to either your home screen or the iPod screen. While this fix might be annoying for some, as of right now it seems like the only way to secure your locked iPhone.

[photo: Refracted Moments™]

[via Gizmodo]