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12.20.10

Intel Processors Are Defective by Design

Posted in Hardware at 1:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Intel puppy

Summary: Intel gives yet another reason to boycott its microchips

INTEL puts DRM on board and now kill switches too: “Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors have a remote kill switch”

Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors have a new feature that the chip giant is calling Anti-Theft 3.0. The processor can be disabled even if the computer has no Internet connection or isn’t even turned on, over a 3G network. With Intel anti-theft technology built into Sandy Bridge, David Allen, director of distribution sales at Intel North America, told ITBusiness that users have the option to set up their processor so that if their computer is lost or stolen, it can be shut down remotely.

For those who want to protect their computers from thieves, the ability to remotely disable them sounds great. We’re not sure the CPU is the component that should be targeted though. While a given stolen netbook, laptop, or desktop can no longer be turned on if Intel’s new kill switch is flipped, there’s nothing stopping the thief from taking out the HDD and putting it in another computer. As a result, you’ve only slightly slowed the criminal down and haven’t really managed to ensure your sensitive data is protected.

Given Intel's many crimes maybe it’s time to cheer for ARM or something else.

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A Single Comment

  1. twitter said,

    December 20, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Gravatar

    It should not be assumed that the HD will be left unmolested but that is not good enough. It could be wiped the same way iPhones wipe themselves on command. It is doubtful they will implement a proper wipe, so the data can still be read, and a thief can remove the drive before a kill is issued.

    Whole drive encryption that free software offers when installed is better for users and organizations with sensitive material. This is more sure to protect the data and it can not be used to remotely disable the device. I expect remote kill switches will take the place of Windows viruses as planned obsolescence for Intel devices.

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