Nmedia - Fotolia
Intel warned of a firmware vulnerability in its Active Management Technology, or AMT, that could allow an attacker to gain access to PCs or devices. How can this happen? Can the firmware be updated?
Intel's Active Management Technology is included in Intel Xeon processors in nonconsumer workstations and servers running Windows and Linux operating systems. It is a component of the Management Engine (ME) firmware that enables management and security features, including firewalls, Active Directory, logging and intrusion detection. The ME can be active even while the server is powered off.
In February 2017, Maksim Malyutin, a researcher at Embedi, disclosed a firmware vulnerability in Intel AMT. Malyutin was able to bypass authentication to gain control of a remote PC. On March 3, 2017, Intel published its advisory about the flaw. The vulnerability ran as a backdoor silently for nine years until Intel received the report from Embedi.
According to a vulnerability note from the CERT Division of Carnegie Mellon University, Intel AMT listens for remote commands on several known ports, including ports 16992 and 16993 Intel scans. Other ports that may be used by Intel AMT include 16994 and 16995, 623 and 664. Cloud server hardware often has AMT enabled. An attacker can gain control of every virtual machine, container and database running on the physical server. Some firewalls and security appliances have open Intel AMT ports.
Fujitsu has published a patched version of the firmware for certain models. Until other vendors publish firmware patches, here are some tips to mitigate the vulnerability:
- Disable Intel AMT on critical servers, such as firewalls, security servers and Active Directory.
- Block ports 16992 through 16995, 623 and 624 in internal firewalls. The last port is Crypto Admin; others are AMT-related.
- Work with an open source detection tool for Linux.
- Use netstat -an to check for listening ports.
Ask the Expert:
Want to ask Judith Myerson a question about security? Submit your question now via email. (All questions are anonymous.)
Learn how IoT challenges firmware developers
Read about the increase in security issues for enterprises because of firmware
Find out how firmware created a backdoor in certain Android devices
Dig Deeper on Network device security: Appliances, firewalls and switches
Related Q&A from Judith Myerson
GE reported an improper authentication flaw in its PulseNet network management software for critical infrastructures. Discover how this flaw works ... Continue Reading
Researchers claim to have found a new attack against VMs that affects SEV technology. Expert Judith Myerson explains what this attack is and how it ... Continue Reading
The Wi-Fi Alliance released the updated WPA3 protocol, adding security enhancements to the Wi-Fi access process. Learn why enterprises should update ... Continue Reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.