Intel developing consumer version of remote chip access

Following the release of its Active Management Technology (AMT) to the corporate PC marketplace last year, I gather that Intel is planning to release the system for use in low-cost consumer PCs later this year.

The move follows the unveiling of Intel's Bearlake range of low-cost microprocessors in Taiwan earlier this month.

Part of Intel's vPro technology, AMT allows IT staff - armed with suitable interrogative information - to access a small amount of critical information on the motherboard of an AMT-equipped PC.

Currently, the technology limits access to authorised IT managers on the company network, who can read and, if necessary, update the configuration and system inventory data.

So far, around 200 major companies have installed AMT, which effectively gives their IT staff back door access to PCs on the network, allowing them to install missing or corrupt files.

It even supports a reinstall of the entire operating system by having the system boot from a remote drive on the network.

AMT, then, is a powerful utility in the corporate PC environment, but what about the technology on consumer PCs?

It could be potentially big trouble for them, is what I say, as installing remote access technology at the chip/BIOS level effectively by-passes most existing IT security safeguards.

So far, no major PC vendors have committed to the Bearlake range of processors, so it's difficult to assess the security implications of the AMT technology being released into the consumer marketplace...