Remote Kill Switch on Intel's new processors

Discussion in 'Computer and Technology Discussion' started by InsaneNutter, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Not so sure if this is really good or bad?

    I guess if your system is stolen you have lost it anyway, it looks like it could be abused though.
     
  2. Dark Scyth

    Dark Scyth Moderator

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    This is just stupid for the most part. So it may be remotely killed, I suppose this is to stop people from using your PC. It doesn't really stop anything else as far as privacy. People can just take out the hard drive and put it into another PC to obtain information. If they can't use the PC then they can either take the parts out for another PC they want to use it in or sell the parts for money, so yet again it can be pretty pointless. Last but definitely not least, this could be very bad if people start to make viruses that can just shut it down even without consent, which I would imagine is more then possible.
     
  3. Harcroft

    Harcroft Addict

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    I have a feeling this will be like a lowjack for premium purchases. It might also be a feature like the Pentium 3 PSN feature, which could allow your processor's serial number to be retrieved remotely. Even though you could disable that feature in the bios (may be the same for the kill switch) the feature was actually scrapped for all later processors. I see this feature being something like that, for users looking for maximum security like government organization employees, and users who use BitLocker on a daily basis.

    That bing said, my bigger concern is if this can be exploited, not to mention can it be undone? What if some enterprising hacker figures out how to disable your computer remotely, could you even re-enable the system? This whole idea seems to be just like the heavy handed MP3 DRM problems of the last decade. Big companies protecting a product in such a way that it ends up giving more trouble to the end user when it does little or nothing to stop the thief, or hacker.

    It wouldn't surprise me at all to see that blanking or reflashing the onboard bios chip would change some MAC addresses or the serial making it so the board couldn't be targeted by a remote kill. So a thief with this knowledge, or who has a friend with this knowledge and with a poor set of morals could easily overcome this issue anyway. Once again giving the end user, not the pirate, thief or hacker gets the risk or inconvenience.
     
  4. Titcher

    Titcher Addict

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    I can see this most likely being implemented in Intel's future attempts in portable systems. They're dying to put a dent in the portable market, their atoms didn't do well, but they're continuing to try. A feature like this MAY help them get adopted by mobile phone manufacturers, there's already IMEI blacklisting, but knowing the guy who stole your mobile couldn't then sell it? Sounds pretty good to me in that scenario. This technology would probably work well with integrated systems and systems on chips.
     
  5. Harcroft

    Harcroft Addict

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    Titcher you must be kidding about the Atoms. They're penetrated three markets with the Atom processor. The netbook market is almost exclusively atom processors, and the that market is booming. People buy netbooks for their kid's first computer, for a lightweight school computer, and dozens of other reasons. Out of everyone I know with laptops more than half have an intel Atom based netbook in addition to or as their only laptop...including myself.

    Nettops are also a growing market that use almost exclusively Atom processors too. Kitchen, living room or other small room computers are becoming common in peoples homes, and they're mostly low powered anemic Atom's.

    If you look at the micro-itx HTPC market, a large chunk of the market share is also Atom processors. While some boards retain Core 2 support, or are built on AMD foundations, the most affordable boards (zotac anyone?) are Atom processors with Ion or GMA950 GPU's.

    The only two unusual places I've seen Atom processors that haven't taken off are cell phones and rackmount server boxes.

    In fact the Atom line of processors were doing so well, Intel forced OEM's to buy the CPU and Chipset as a combo to discourage lowballing prices. They also raised the prices of the chip combinations slightly to encourage the sales of the lower end Core 2 and ultra low voltage SU series processors. When a company makes it harder to buy a chip because it's outselling their more expensive lines, that's a surefire sign of it a processor line selling extremely well.

    As for the comment about being able to sell a stolen laptop, I JUST mentioned how this could likely be disabled by a skilled power user. If the end user can't get around it, but a skilled thief can, the entire protection method has failed miserably.
     
  6. Titcher

    Titcher Addict

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    Please notice that I was talking about the portable market. Not netbooks or laptops, I'm talking about handheld devices, PDAs and the like. Intel has been trying to dominate that market for a very long time, but their XScale and Atom chips just don't compare to ARM in power efficiency.
     

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