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System76 to disable Intel Management Engine on its notebooks

System76 Galago Pro Linux notebook
System76 Galago Pro
While Intel is working with the big brands to patch the major security holes recently discovered in its Management Engine firmware, System76 plans to take it all to the next level by disabling IME entirely via a firmware update.
Codrut Nistor,
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Intel has recently confirmed the earlier findings of third parties who revealed that its Management Engine firmware has some serious security issues. Since we talked about this recently, we should now move to System76's approach in handling this situation.

In case you missed them in the past, you should know that System76 is a rather small company that makes custom notebooks and desktops with Linux. In a blog post that was published earlier today, they revealed that "System76 will automatically deliver updated firmware with a disabled ME on Intel 6th, 7th, and 8th Gen laptops. The ME provides no functionality for System76 laptop customers and is safe to disable." Obviously, this will not happen without sending a notification to the users of those laptops first.

System76 desktops that use Intel processors will not get the same update, so the Intel Management Engine will not be disabled on those machines. As it happens with the devices from brands like Lenovo or Asus, the System76 desktops should also receive updated firmware that patches the ME vulnerabilities.

One last thing that System76 chose to highlight in the blog post mentioned earlier is that Intel could change how the device functions in the future and the whole story might repeat itself over and over after that. They also wrote the following: "We implore Intel to retain the ability for device manufactures and consumers to disable the ME." Now, we can only hope that Intel chooses to play it safe and does the right thing.

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Codrut Nistor
Codrut Nistor - Senior Tech Writer - 5461 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
In my early school days, I hated writing and having to make up stories. A decade later, I started to enjoy it. Since then, I published a few offline articles and then I moved to the online space, where I contributed to major websites that are still present online as of 2021 such as Softpedia, Brothersoft, Download3000, but I also wrote for multiple blogs that have disappeared over the years. I've been riding with the Notebookcheck crew since 2013 and I am not planning to leave it anytime soon. In love with good mechanical keyboards, vinyl and tape sound, but also smartphones, streaming services, and digital art.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 11 > System76 to disable Intel Management Engine on its notebooks
Codrut Nistor, 2017-11-30 (Update: 2017-11-30)