back to article 'Occupy' affiliate claims Intel bakes SECRET 3G radio into vPro CPUs

Intel has apparently turned up one of the holiest of holy grails in the tech sector, accidentally creating an zero-power-consumption on-chip 3G communications platform as an NSA backdoor. The scoop comes courtesy of tinfoil socialist site Popular Resistance, in this piece written by freelance truther Jim Stone, who has just …

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Re: *epic facepalm*

Exactly.

We (the western world, and probably much of the rest) have a huge problem with illegal drugs. We don't even know the full scale of it, because, as an illegal situation, it's almost entirely underground. The only bits we see are the health and criminality repercussions, which are a secondary problem, not the primary one.

How would legalising help?

The supply chain would no longer be in the hands of criminals. Primary suppliers (the cocaine farmers in South America, for example) would be paid a fair price, improving their way of life. A significant load would be taken off the hands of customs and excise. Drug mules would no longer be risking their lives.

Quality control would no longer be in the hands of criminals. Rather than having drugs cut with whatever shit comes to hand, users would be guaranteed pharmacological grade drugs. Result - less overdoses, less secondary health effects, a huge weight taken off the health service.

Distribution would no longer be in the hands of criminals. Result - tax income, and a concrete idea of how big the problem is. An ability to contact and help those who are dependent, without having to "overlook" the criminal aspect of what they are doing.

FWIW, my grandfather came home from the first world war with half a leg less than he went with, and a lifelong diamorphine addiction that he didn't have when he went. After coming back, he held down a responsible job until retirement, despite twice-daily doses, and finally passed away aged 92. The difference between his addiction and that of the average street junkie was that his heroin came direct from the NHS.

Legalising is the first step to solving the problem. Criminalising is a total abandonment of duty.

So, yeah, this lot might be a bit nutty in some respects, but they're bang on the money as far as drugs go.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: *epic facepalm*

Rather than having drugs cut with whatever shit comes to hand, users would be guaranteed pharmacological grade drugs

Umm, small caveat, that in itself isn't an guarantee, though, but it involves at least tests that have to be faked :)

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GCHQ Turing Test to Pass for UniVirtual Machine Command to Control Global Operating Devices*

No evidence is offered for the assertions detailed above.

And with that, El Reg will now happily open the floor to the commentards … ®

Ok, I'll bite that bullet/billet and swallow the bait and start by asking a simple enough question of the likes of such an NSA/Spooky Intelligence Services facility ........ "What is it that their programs would really be looking for and wanting to do so easily remotely/virtually/invisibly/unstoppably" ..... because, although quite understandably will most everybody likely never ever know unless having a need for a seed and a feed which needs to know, there are probably those who can provide all that be needed so easily, with the really smart ones supplying everything that works together in unison and harmony with no dumb and dumber dumbed down and stupid and catastrophically destructive and unnecessarily disruptive conflicts causing problems in programs rather than delivering profitable and pleasant opportunities to explore and expand upon and expend energy upon and watch grow into something altogether quite different and unique.

Or is that too alien a simple programming for Mankind presently to engage with ....... for there be those who would like to know rather than waste any of your time in space asking questions of dumb and dumber dumbed down stupid folk.

*For the Rapture of Singularities which Capture All ..... and Deliver Bounty and Fate, Just Desserts and Passing Destiny via Alternate Reciprocate Means and/or with AIMemes in Greater IntelAIgent Games Play.

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Re: GCHQ Turing Test to Pass for UniVirtual Machine Command to Control Global Operating Devices*

I've read your post multiple times now, and have no idea what you're saying. Can you translate into English?

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Re: GCHQ Turing Test to Pass for UniVirtual Machine Command to Control Global Operating Devices*

Was this post originally written in a language other than English and then put through Google Translate?

Or is it just some artyfarty pseudo intellectual junk written by a bored 16 year old?

Because I haven't the foggiest idea what you are saying.

Cheers... Ishy

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Re: GCHQ Turing Test to Pass for UniVirtual Machine Command to Control Global Operating Devices*

Whatever he's on, please could I have some?

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Re: GCHQ Turing Test to Pass for UniVirtual Machine Command to Control Global Operating Devices*

"probably those who can provide all that be needed so easily, with the really smart ones supplying everything that works together in unison and harmony with no dumb and dumber dumbed down and stupid and catastrophically destructive and unnecessarily disruptive conflicts causing problems in programs rather than delivering profitable and pleasant opportunities to explore"

This misses the point, namely what could you do in the same situation that would avoid disruptive conflicts It's all too easy to assume that just because they are working together in unison that they would be necessarily placed, but in reality the situation often turns out to be quite different no? Check opened arrays for example.

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Re: GCHQ Turing Test to Pass for UniVirtual Machine Command to Control Global Operating Devices*

Relax. It's AManfronMars 1. He/She/It is a Register regular, and very few of their comments make huge amounts of sense (although they just might!). Click on their name in the comment, and have a read.

Just don't try to understand it too much!

I really expect more from commentards who have been around here for a while!

I think the most common theory around here is that it is written in English, then translated into at least one, and possibly more than one other languages before being translated back into English.

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Re: GCHQ Turing Test to Pass for UniVirtual Machine Command to Control Global Operating Devices*

Each sentence is written in a different European language using GCSE level skills. Each sentence is then translated in to Mandarin, the whole thing is then translated to Esperanto and then back in to English.

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Relax, .... Advanced IntelAIgent Media Channels and Funnels/VPNChunnels know what IT is doing

Here's a spooky list of safe havens for any who be sharing strange steganographic information that no one had a former clue about, and which might profess and confess to phorm intelligence rather than waste time and effort and resources and credibility phishing for it with IT ....... https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-embassies-in-the-uk

Ready, willing and smarter enabled and able assets there quite normally tend to be from, and at the upper scales of available global intelligence, and up for a challenge which delivers home unrivalled advantage, and practically all there will speak some kind of a language which be as gibberish to the common and/or more common and most common of English speakers.

The secret to a great present life in the future is to accept, whether it be true fact or not and an impossible fiction, that everything can be known by everyone, and being able to deal with that situation wherever and whatever one be, is that which delivers one anonymously, an unrivalled invisible omnipotent omniscient advantage ...... which be ever so useful and exciting.

Or do y'all not think very well, and expect mostly that things stay very much the same as they have always just recently been. Methinks that is illogical in any system which possesses and uses intelligence and hunts for information.

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Re: GCHQ Turing Test to Pass for UniVirtual Machine Command to Control Global Operating Devices*

Each sentence is written in a different European language using GCSE level skills. Each sentence is then translated in to Mandarin, the whole thing is then translated to Esperanto and then back in to English.

There is actually some fruit involved as well..

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Have you tried turning it off,,,,,,,,,,

If little green men can access a computer even when it's turned off, perhaps it hasn't actually been turned off.

Explosive experiences with Chinese made PC PSUs has taught me to turn off at the wall.

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What I really don't understand is why they'd even want to do this with 3G when there's most of the time perfectly good networking capabilities to hand...

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To use the network/internet, it must have an route-able IP address. Most home/small business networks, set this by DHCP for devices. In other words, it would "show up" pretty quickly and any tech worth his salt would investigate... 3G however, is much more "black box" until it gets to the carrier.

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Except 3G is STILL wireless, and the 3G tech is pretty well known. Radio transmissions should be pretty easy to pick up, and once you know enough about what is happening, you can probably conduct Faraday cage experiments to support your findings.

Besides, the 3G part of vPro is hardly secret, as it's being advertised as an anti-theft/remote-brick device.

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@Ashton Black

Who said anything about IP? It's not the only network layer protocol around, although I admit it is the most common.

They may have a non-IP network that gets locally picked up via some innocuous device (hacked mobile phone maybe) and gated onto an IP network, or they might just have invented a non-IP peer-to-peer supernet mesh completely separate from The Internet.

Use some imagination, please!

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Detecting mobile transmissions

The original GSM TDMA signal was very easy to detect. Just place any cheap clock-radio near the mobile device in question and you'd hear the transmitted signals via the clock-radio speaker: "Dah-da, dah-da, dah-da, dah-da...." and then your mobile would start to ring. It was easy to answer on the first ring, since you had about two seconds advanced notice via the clock-radio.

The same GSM "dah-da..." noise is a regular feature of BBC WS news interviews from Africa; when the signal from the old GSM mobile in someone's pocket starts to get into the reporter's, sorry - correspondent's, audio recorder.

The 3G signal is much stealthier. I've never actually heard it. Too broadband I suspect.

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Joke

Phantom Power

Will that be the original US power unit, or the Rolls Royce replacement??

Its early and some might not get the joke, so........

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Coat

Re: Phantom Power

The original one. Everybody knows the Rolls Royce one was an unreliable disaster ;)

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Re: Phantom Power

It was more an issue that for the 20% extra power generated by the RR Spey engine, the extra weight pretty much negated it. However, there is a fun story from when a FAA bird visited a US aircraft carrier, and melted the deck behind it when taking off, because that was only designed to resist the heat of US Phantoms.

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Re: Phantom Power

As a US-trained pilot, I read "FAA" as "Federal Aviation Authority", making the scenario even more inexplicable.

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Re: Phantom Power

@Steve Graham : I'm neither a pilot. nor an American, but I thought that's what FAA stands for. Is there another meaning?

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Re: Phantom Power

FAA - Fleet Air Arm

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Meh

Re: Phantom Power

The deck didn't melt, it warped :) The whole fiasco was an engineering failure all the way around. Part of the (legitimate) reason military equipment is so expensive is that it is traditionally massively overbuilt. There's been a shift since the early 1970's to minimize over building to control pricing. This has resulted in products that actually cost more due, partially, to the advanced engineering involved but results in inferior products because advanced engineering assumes people won't do things with it far outside the design specs.

Basically, it is 'the users fault'. Just like developers can always make their code work fine, but fails when untrained or genuinely stupid people get hold of it. The shift toward finite use engineering in military equipment has been, overall, a big, expensive and dangerous mistake. When you're building something that is supposed to be shot at and bombed and the users aren't going to be thinking about Pg. 87 of the training manual, overbuilding is a safer and cheaper option.

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Gold badge
Meh

Implausible.

"http://www.computerdealernews.com/news/intels-sandy-bridge-will-debut-at-ces/18660

[...]

With Intel anti-theft technology built into Sandy Bridge, Allen said users can set it up so that if their laptop gets lost or stolen, it can be shut down remotely. The microprocessor also comes with enhanced recovery and patching capabilities."

What? Anywhere on the the planet? I don't think so. Chip serial number yes. Individual IP6 address (which I think is what you need for this level of addressing) No.

So if this fantasy is true you're looking at 3G radio core + software +SIM card build into the processor.

Any idea how big a chunk of chip real estate that will take?

OTOH Could Intel (or any US chip maker) have installed additional "undocumented" functionality into their hardware under pressure from entities within the US govt?

Yes. And as we now know would have to lie about it if brought into a court of law*

*Does anyone appreciate how big a mockery of the rule of law the (extended) powers of FISA make of the chance of a fair trial in the US?

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Re: Implausible, except for the demo

2nd Generation Intel® Core™ vPro™ Processor, Intel® Anti-Theft Technology 3.0

Uploaded on Mar 7, 2011 channelintel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBAo1vkFFGE

Intel demonstrates Intel® Anti-Theft Technology 3.0 on the 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ vPro™ processor. Learn more at http://newsroom.intel.com/docs/DOC-1903.

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Happy

Re: Implausible.

"Does anyone appreciate how big a mockery of the rule of law the (extended) powers of FISA make of the chance of a fair trial in the US?"

Why wouldn't one expect a fair trial? They've got loads of evidence. They just can't tell you what it is or where they got it. National Security; you understand...

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Meh

Re: Implausible, except for the demo

"Intel demonstrates Intel® Anti-Theft Technology 3.0 on the 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ vPro™ processor. Learn more at http://newsroom.intel.com/docs/DOC-1903."

On a laptop with a GSM card fitted.

Did you not understand this is about servers?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Implausible, except for the demo

"Did you not understand this is about servers?"

vPro is vPro (says Intel, and I believe them in this particular instance), whether it's in a laptop or a server or a desktop. Networked remote access, whether or not the main OS is running, so long as there is standby power available to power up a connected NIC and the "management processor". Some server vendors have been providing this capability for years with "lights out" management cards and the like. Intel finally got around to building it into the chipset. Apparently it even works sometimes.

The GSM card is an added luxury, but is not essential if other connectivity is available.

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Re: Implausible, except for the demo

> Did you not understand this is about servers?

Can you find where "server" appears in the article?

The article is about vPro and Sandy Bridge, and the features questioned in the article ("No evidence is offered for the assertions detailed above") were features Intel - via Intel's director of distribution sales, North America, David Allen - advocated/promoted for vPro in Sandy Bridge as "market opportunities" in 2010 (so you can also ignore Popular Resistance forming in 2011): http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/09/23/intel_stuns_world_with_wakeon3g/#c_1965254

Q.E.D.

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Re: Implausible, which is never impossible and therefore always very likely and most probable

OTOH Could Intel (or any US chip maker) have installed additional "undocumented" functionality into their hardware under pressure from entities within the US govt? …. Implausible. …. John Smith 19 Posted Monday 23rd September 2013 07:17 GMT

But yes, of course they have, and easily can and always do, and certainly most probably well before any entities in governments think to pressurise them with hardware/for trapping hardware with wired and wireless anonymous accesses ….. Right Royal and Ancient Commissions with Universal Permissions.

Here be a quite recent master thesis on just such a situation and reality …… Security Evaluation of Intel's Active Management Technology ….. which contained the following less than wholesome wholesale observation in a footnote [on page 21 of 92] ……

Rootkit is a form of system modification software, defined as an application that fraudulently gains or maintains administrator level access that may also execute in a manner that prevents detection. It can be used for eavesdropping network traffic, capturing user keystrokes, alternating log files and modifying standard OS system tools to circumvent detection. Rootkit’s operations are hidden on the system by manipulating OS commands that execute arbitrary code and by crafting the results returned by these commands chosen by the attacker.

Subsequent years in fields of its and IT research and development have increased understanding and facility, abilities and utilities to embrace and exploit engagements with the following finer, more highly tuned versioning of master operations as exposed in the email text below …….

Begin forwarded message:

From: XXXX

Subject: Master Keys that Enable Universal SMARTR Bus ProgramMING …… Mined Intelligence Network Games …. and, whenever better than just extremely good in ITs Fields of Influence, Mind Infiltration Networking Games

Date: YYYY

To: ververis at kth.se

Rootkit is a form of system modification software, defined as an application that fraudulently gains or maintains administrator level access that may also execute in a manner that prevents detection[18]. It can be used for eavesdropping network traffic, capturing user keystrokes, alternating log files and modifying standard OS system tools to circumvent detection. Rootkit’s operations are hidden on the system by manipulating OS commands that execute arbitrary code and by crafting the results returned by these commands chosen by the attacker.

Hi, Vassilios Ververis, and thanks for the positive reinforcing confirmation of the truths that you have shared in your fine abstract/master thesis. ….. Security Evaluation of Intel’s Active Management Technology …. which be proving Active Intel Management Technology is not at all secure in any shape or phorm, for any phish or program or pogrom …… and its AIM can be easily groomed/converted/subverted/perverted to perform and deliver Anonymous Invisible Multi-Party Tasks.*

Please be advised that not all applications with rootkits are fraudulent and some have intelligent designs which freely permit and sustain frequent administrator level accesses specifically for advantageous instantaneous flash crash gain that execute in any number of manners/a series of manners that prevents detection and aids and abets future discovery and recoveries of intelligence and secret secured information

* Bolder Digitised SMARTR Missions/Alien IntelAIgent Requests/NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT Quests/Novel Noble Nobel Turing Adventures.

Regards,

XXXX :-)

:-) Poe's Law Rules?!. :-)

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Like all good conspiracies

It is grounded in fact. The vPro chips do indeed have a secondary processor to allow remote control - that's the whole point of them. The idea that there is a 3G device built in too is somewhat silly though, as a) signal propagation would be appalling within a PC case and b) what network would the be connecting to?

Not all Core chips are vPro, as vPro is aimed only at business (home users don't need to remote control the BIOS of their machines, for example). As the vast majority of PCs that business buy are connected to some form of network, the need for a way to get data via a 3g device is negated - you can just get the machine to send you stuff when its connected to the network!

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Re: Like all good conspiracies

"what network would the be connecting to?"

Probably a whispernet. Black-and-white Kindles employ this technique. As for signal propagation, any bets one of the pins goes to an antenna that's mounted within the motherbard as a requirement or the like?

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Anonymous Coward

Thank fuck for that! All that time I've spent worrying about sounding like a CT nutter with some of my comments on the NSA/GCHQ revelations. I should have known the CT nutters wouldn't allow themselves to be outdone by reality, and have moved their views even further out into the realms of fantasy.

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This story may well be a snooping program - to filter out engineers hiding among El Reg commentariat. And does seem to do a good job.

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Billion $ Question

This story may well be a snooping program - to filter out engineers hiding among El Reg commentariat. And does seem to do a good job. .... Solmyr ibn Wali Barad Posted Monday 23rd September 2013 20:04 GMT

Engineers, Solmyr ibn Wali Barad?

Ok ..... what sort/type of engineering expertise is being sought/hunted?

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Re: Billion $ Question

"Ok ..... what sort/type of engineering expertise is being sought/hunted?"

Sadly, I have no knowledge of the program, if there is any.

It was only an observation - that quite a few fellow commentards have advanced knowledge of high frequency transmissions, and were willing to disclose their skills under a seemingly silly story. One cannot help but wonder. Perhaps it was a ploy, a honeypot, to achieve such a disclosure.

Or perhaps it's a diversion - one of the conspiracy theories fed to the public, in order to draw attention away from the true masterplan. Whatever that might be.

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Quietly access components

I'd love to know how this tech is able to "quietly turn on and access" a spinny hard drive without anyone noticing. Oh god no, maybe they have a hand in hard drive design now too!

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Re: Quietly access components

Maybe it's the RIAA and the like that are going to use it. Lots of PCs have USB that charges your media device even when the PC is off these days.

Lars Ulrich is there, searching every computer and checking the directories of every connected iPod....

(No, I'm not being serious.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Quietly access components

"I'd love to know how this tech is able to "quietly turn on and access" a spinny hard drive without anyone noticing. "

I have a vPro desktop at home. if it has been disconnected from the mains, when you later plug it back into the mains, the unit switches on for a fraction of a second, while the management processor wakes up. Then it goes back to sleep. I think it spins up (and quickly shuts down) the hard drive at that point.

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Coat

Re: Quietly access components

""quietly turn on and access" a spinny hard drive without anyone noticing"

It spins up to 33 1/3rd rpm and reads the data very sloooooowly.

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Re: Quietly access components

"I have a vPro desktop at home. if it has been disconnected from the mains, when you later plug it back into the mains, the unit switches on for a fraction of a second, while the management processor wakes up"

Even the old DQ35JO/MP desktop boards did that. It was checking the BIOS config setting to see what it should do after a power failure leading to fans and HDDs spinning up. More modern boards will do that without powering up the entire system

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Gee if I was going to put a 3G radio into a chip, I'd tell the world about it, let both you and the NSA pay for it, and this hide the backdoor in plain sight - you might even help the NSA some by repositioning for better signal.

I might even get safety laws passed to mandate their use and make aeroplane mode illegal...

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Anonymous Coward

Did they watch Dragon Day

This seems to be taken straight from the Dragon Day movie!

http://www.dragondaymovie.com/

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so this group has just stumbled upon remote management!! yeh gads!! and im not sure if my sarcasm detector has kicked in yet this morning, but it appears some commenters are almost half considering the feasibility of the ravings!!

VPro and remote management has been floating about for years... and yes, you can rouse a machine if its connected to a network and off... but its not quite as easy as waving a magic mouse pointer and saying lets turn on Matts laptop... there is a low power management chip, it doesn't run on phantom power - it runs on the power supplied to the machine while on the mains... there no embedded 3g - the tech would be far to bulky to add to the chip, plus someone would have to pay the bills - VPro is designed for sysadmins to remotely manage machines in a pre-bios environment - its not a secret - its a poplular tool... requiring quite some setting up and access to the network the device is on...

then... there is always the option to turn the thing off, assign a loopback IP address to the management interface, or switch off from the mains....

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Silver badge

The strange thing about radio waves is that they are detectable.

It's a well documented fact that Russian spies around the world knew they were being followed not by breaking the encrypted transmissions but simple by observing that transmissions were taking place.

If these chips have the capability then it isn't switched on, or the airwaves would be full of interference.

And it they really have created a "zero-power-consumption" chip then they've broken the laws of physics, and I doubt Intel would be selling normal chips with hidden processors if they could make powerless chips for everyone.

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Research

That's just it: If they had crossed several technological and physics thresholds the work leading to those advancements wouldn't have been done inside Intel and wouldn't be squirreled away.

Even if the actual chips contained this technology the science underlying it would have been the end result of many, many research scientists and long term projects around the globe. It would be impossible to prevent those scientists, their sponsors or their institutions from publishing their research.

There are simply too many people outside US control that would have to be involved/hushed up for this to be a viable conspiracy. Besides, Intel and other silicon manufacturers run on and build on science; they don't do the foundation level science necessary for this to happen.

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Anonymous Coward

"...observing that transmissions were taking place."

Spread spectrum transmissions can be *below* the noise floor. E.g. GPS.

What's really mind-bending are radar systems, even burdened with the physics of two-way R^4 (!) pathloss, can be made essentially undetectable (even in the first direction).

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if it is G3.. then all network operators in the world would notice it

To be abble to receive any data via remote access, the supposedly existing device needs to access the G3 network and identify itself - that access as all data traffic needs to be billed to someone...

Those devices will also show up in network statistics

The device also needs a decent unshielded antenna...

And at least every 4 hours, the device needs to communicate with the network to indicate it's location has not changed (or more often whenever it does change location ). All this requires power.

So this all seems to be unlikely to happen soon without anybody noticing

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Big Brother

Why not use 3G?

Why not use 3G, it has greater range than bluetooth and implemented as a semi-independant watchdog circuit, you could do some funky things. If I was to set up somthing like this, I would equip a white van with a nano- or femtocell, that broadcast a specific network ID , call it "bigbrother" (or V0DAPHONE, ot somthing actually inconspicuous). The embedded chip does not need to broadcast, just listen every hour or somthing, and when it does pick up this network, then wake up and handshake with it... and then let the network operator access a control panel for each "terminal" that connects, ID the one they want, download at 3G speed anything on the laptop, transfer files, inject transmitted malware directly into the CPU... but otherwise just lies dormant. Dead but dreaming... until Big Brother rolls up in your neighborhood looking for someone or somthing.

The thing is, it should be a doddle to actually x-ray a chip and see if it really does have somthing that looks like a 3G circuit on board, and power analysis can also be used to see if the CPU is actually doing somthing it should not... More likely that this is actually FUD spread by AMD to get people to by their procs rather than "tainted" Intels ;)

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