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Re: vPro and secure Debian systems

On 08/02/2017 10:24 AM, Daniel Pocock wrote:
Hi all,

There is a page[1] about AMT / vPro on the wiki, it doesn't mention any
of the security concerns[2] about this technology.

Is there anything that Debian can do as an OS (e.g. default settings,
check during installation) to protect users from risks associated with vPro?
No, OS can't prevent hardware hack that is already in place. That said, it can lock things down to some degree (like iomem restriction in newer kernels that prevent you from flashing BIOS for example, though it can still be disabled via iomem=relaxed kernel option).

For people who have a computer or laptop with vPro capabilities, can it
be made secure or are they better off getting rid of that system?

vPro is not issue per se. Entire combination of vPro, ME Enterprise and Intel Wi-Fi makes the AMT which can be issue. That said, for most systems with that combination, AMT is disabled (unless specially requested I don't think there are laptops that have it enabled by default).

A lot of new Intel-based laptops, e.g. Thinkpads, offer a choice to buy
with or without vPro.  Does deselecting vPro during the customization
process actually make any difference from a security perspective, or is
the same stuff still present in the system anyway?



1. https://wiki.debian.org/AMT

So the attitude here should be "I need combination of hardware and OS to make things more secure" - which comes to things such as open schematics based on open standards (hopefully for some awesome future RISC-V based motherboard), coreboot, Heads (for measured boot), learn and use TPM, hardware key to unlock boot process, full disk encryption of OS, "toryfing" apps that go to network (via torsocks for example), flatpaks (general containerization/sandboxing of apps) etc etc

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