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posted by janrinok on Saturday March 15 2014, @07:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the more-lock-in-is-just-what-we-needed dept.

FuckBeta writes:

"Guido Stepko reports - In an GOLEM interview at CEBIT 2014 fair, Frank Kuypers, technical account manager at INTEL corp., proudly presented a new feature in INTEL processors, called "hooks", beginning with the new 2014 "Merrifield" 64 bit SoC chip generation.

In the Intel network only mobiles with certain Android versions are allowed to use certain functionalities. If you then replace your Android version, e.g. by a free Cyanogenmod Android kernel, not only some chips would stop working, e.g. LTE/UMTS, but also mails from your employer would be blinded out, because now the processor itself would 'classify' the new software as 'risk'.

Now, beginning with the new 2014 power efficient mobile "Merrifield" processor generation, this functionality will be used to lock the processor for certain OS'es or OS versions. Whether there will be a SDK or use of this 'functionality' will be kept a secret, still is undecided, Kuypers said.

Ryan O'Dell sees a potential abuse of the technology: "You'll buy a computer from a shop with Windows OS and not be able to change to Linux or another OS in the future. You may be able to buy the processor unlocked for a sum. With mobile phones/tablets it can be worse with phone networks also potentially have a lock-in. It's a disaster for the consumer"

Google translation from German: (Google)

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  • Summary is wrong! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15 2014, @08:08PM (#17002)

    In an GOLEM interview at CEBIT 2014 fair, Frank Kuypers, technical account manager at INTEL corp., proudly presented a new feature in INTEL processors, called "hooks", beginning with the new 2014 "Merrifield" 64 bit SoC chip generation.

    /s/feature/bug/g

  • Maybe not a disaster (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15 2014, @08:09PM (#17003)

    ... But a wake up call to stop buying Intel products because for years now they have been backdoored so badly that you may as well walk around with a big opening in the back of your pants, it's no less private than owning an Intel.

    • Re:Maybe not a disaster by Anonymous Coward (Score:1) Saturday March 15 2014, @08:30PM
    • Re:Maybe not a disaster (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rev0lt (3125) on Saturday March 15 2014, @11:16PM (#17052)

      it's no less private than owning an Intel.

      Or any other "modern" CPU. On x86/AMD64 DMA attacks exist for a decade, and they aren't going away soon.

    • Re:Maybe not a disaster (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheGratefulNet (659) on Sunday March 16 2014, @12:14AM (#17074)

      I present this link and you guys can decide if this is real or not:

      http://everist.org/eevblog/20140128_NSA_ANT_Intel_ yellow.txt [everist.org]

      I honestly don't know and have not seen such a thing, but someone claims they have.

      fwiw

      --
      "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
    • Re:Maybe not a disaster (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday March 16 2014, @03:19AM (#17112) Journal

      As long as we have AMD I really don't see a problem, just one more reason to buy AMD.

      Remember folks that the benches have been rigged for years (look up "Intel Cripple Compiler" to see how, and yes even the latest version is rigged, it merely documents now that its rigged but you still can't get it to put out SSE code with a non Intel CPUID) so don't go by those, take one for a spin and see for yourself. I have been AMD exclusive in the shop for years (only Intel systems are trade ins) and unless you are one of those in the few fields where you need every possible MHz (wave simulation, uberheavy number crunching) I bet my last buck in a blind test you wouldn't tell the difference...but your wallet would know.

      So if Intel wants to be a douche? Well this isn't the first time, remember who was pushing for Palladium last time, but being geeks we CAN make a difference as folks come to us to find out what to buy. Steer them away from Intel and towards AMD. As a nice bonus if you care about freedom and FOSS software AMD has been opening up their designs as fast as they can and are even paying for devs to work with th FOSS driver guys so AMD is the obvious choice on that front as well. I know my AMD hexa is pushing 5 years old and I'm still quite happy with it, it blows through video transcodes and games like nothing and runs insanely cool with nothing but a $25 HSF cooling it. A system similar to mine now goes for around $350 shipped in a Tigerkit and I've seen the quad kitss as low as $175, you just can't beat that.

      --
      ACs are never seen so don't bother. I never surf below +2 just for you.
  • Bad idea on many levels (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BsAtHome (889) on Saturday March 15 2014, @08:09PM (#17004)

    If a CPU is not capable of executing any program, then it is not a CPU anymore as we've known it. It'll be a paperweight and planned obsolescence device. You lose all flexibility by artificially limiting the processor to executing one program/OS. Even an update of the OS may give you "I cannot allow you to do that Dave" problems (besides the obvious hack-ability). A Bad Thing(TM). It is not up to the chip/CPU vendor to tell us what me may or may not run on it.

    • Re:Bad idea on many levels (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GungnirSniper (1671) on Saturday March 15 2014, @08:17PM (#17006) Journal

      Odd that we're passing laws restricting auto sales and mobile chargers, but this planned obsolescence offering makes only a blip on the radar. Intel's market isn't us, but the hardware makers who will do anything to keep us from doing unintended things. Their thinking is 'if you're happy with your device now, we will stop updates so you upgrade'. Sad that now 'Intel Inside' may eventually mean something like 'Sony Designed'.

      • Re:Bad idea on many levels by Anonymous Coward (Score:0) Saturday March 15 2014, @08:25PM
      • Re:Bad idea on many levels (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 15 2014, @08:36PM (#17021) Homepage Journal

        Fuck 'em. Existing hardware is more than good enough for everything we need to do. And if this is implemented in common PCs, used PC sales and AMD stock will skyrocket. People won't just guzzle this down, even the more stupid computer users like their shit to "just work" and have often used pirated OS media after losing the original restore CDs and documentation.

        Another aspect mentioned in the article but not yet mentioned here is the overhead on the processor. While I like the idea of a virus scanner running on the CPU itself, I don't like how they've traditionally been resource hogs. A competent user could do without virus scanners on even XP, but what if you had no choice in the matter because the code is required to run on the CPU? Sure, the system could be usable, but think about how much more powerful it could be without that overhead. Alternately, there's the problem with shovelware on retail PCs and phones -- so imagine what it would be like to have mandatory shovelware running on the CPU itself! Inline ads in your own pictures and documents, pop-ups, and of course an even bigger potentially gaping backdoor.

        And how would the OS be enforced? Surely somebody will reverse-engineer the magic word or encryption used by the OS verification mechanism. The idea stinks of buttnuggets.

        • Re:Bad idea on many levels (Score:5, Insightful)

          by edIII (791) on Saturday March 15 2014, @10:07PM (#17039)

          As described though the technology sounds awesome. Only needs 1 extra thing: User control

          Imagine a processor where it did implement a hardware level lower OS that did nothing but filter and block programs from running. That would be quite awesome actually and be a much safer system. Not even rootkits could get into this thing.

          If the processor required physical access and programming that anyone could do the manufacturer could not lock us out that way. It could work under the consumers control.

          Of course I want a unicorn and a pony. Intel will have finally sold out completely by doing this and nobody will trust them the moment this hits market.

          I'll order chips from North Korea before I order Intel again.

        • Re:Bad idea on many levels (Score:5, Funny)

          by juggs (63) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 15 2014, @10:51PM (#17048) Journal

          ..after losing the original restore CDs and documentation..

          Which century did you last buy a "device" in?

          If you're lucky you get a "recovery" partition from which if everything is aligned correctly, it is a solstice and nubile maidens are sacrificed at some unannounced stone circle, will be capable of restoring the "device" to something like it was when you bought it (not much help if it's the disk that pegs out of course).

          If you are doubly lucky your new "device" will have some preloaded funky "restore DVD creator wizard" application that will nag you incessantly to burn your own restore media, despite in most cases the "device" not actually having any optical burning capabality. Should you be trebly lucky and have been granted the privelege of an optical writer the "wizard" will instruct you that you need 20 DVDs - so you obediently buy a 20 or 30 drum of writeable DVDs and begin the process of creation. During which process, between the "device" going to sleep because it is idle, needing more updates (and automatically rebooting "for your safety"), being generally distracted by nagging you to do other "vital" things to sustain it's existence it royally fucks up writing said DVDs and spews a torrent of "verification of media failed" errors, leading you to purchase at least double the originally required number of blank DVDs.

          Should you have the patience of a lobotomised saint, whose sainthood happened to be granted to be saint of all that is patient in the most patient society in the whole of patience eternal - maybe a couple of weeks later you can smugly look at the stack of "successfully" burnt DVDs, neatly etched in your finest marker prose - "Disc1", "Disc2" etc.

          Being a concientious, obedient and patient chap - you think OK, well now they are burnt, I should test them - it's only been a couple of weeks and I've done nothing yet with this device other than some updates and burn these DVDs, now would be the time to test my backup. After a day or so of searching for the cunningly disguised online manual for your "device" (no you don't get that on paper) you find the magic incantation to commence the restore process at reboot - seems straight forward enough - "Place 'Disc1' in the drive and hold the magic incantation buttons whilst booting". OK.

          "Device" boots up and magic words appear - "Restore initiated - Disc1 found. Proceeding with restore - initial format of drive... ... .."

          After a couple of days another message - "Drive format complete... commencing restore... !ERROR Disc1 failed - please insert other media or try again Y-N-Maybe-LOLUnicorns?! ~Bieber~ _ "

          By this point delerium is starting to set in and you think perhaps 'LOLUnicorns?!' might be the best option, but quickly dismiss that as nonsense and realise there is no sane answer to the question posed (and damned if you are letting a default Bieber rum amok), surely the guy who programmed this recovery routine was sensible and thought to provide a failsafe - so you hit the only option - the power off, can't make things any worse right?.

          Once the beautiful purple LEDS have stopped winking and things have gone dark, you rescue 'Disc1' from the drive and restore it to it's rightful place on top of the DVD pile. Then hit power...
          "No trusted boot media or OS found Y-N-Maybe-LOLUnicorns?! ~Bieber~ _ "

          At this point your only hope is the manufacturer's hell-desk.... and how has that ever worked out for anyone? You know it's game over, you have a paperweight, can't even summon the strength to pick up the telephone receiver to dial the premium rate "support" number that will route you through 50 different menu options before helpfully placing you in a queue where "your call is important to us" for roughly the next 3 millenia before then conecting you to a service engaged tone briefly and then promptly disconnecting you with an amazingly irksome yet chirpy "Please try later.".

          ~~~

          HOW the fuck did it come to this?

          • Re:Bad idea on many levels (Score:5, Informative)

            by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 15 2014, @11:20PM (#17053)

            The last laptop I bought was from System 76. No troubles of this sort at all. I think people need to start paying attention to buying from suppliers that have at least some of their customers interests in mind.

          • Re:Bad idea on many levels (Score:4, Insightful)

            by clone141166 (59) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 16 2014, @12:37AM (#17078)

            Can't stop laughing at that comment. It's scary how many parts of it align with reality though.

          • Re:Bad idea on many levels (Score:4, Funny)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) on Sunday March 16 2014, @05:18AM (#17133) Journal

            ROFLMAO

            You err though. "before helpfully placing you in a queue where "your call is important to us" for roughly the next 3 millenia" India has reduced those call waiting times to less than 2.5 millenia, and they are working to reduce them further. The world is following suit, as quickly as technology permits!

          • Re:Bad idea on many levels (Score:5, Informative)

            by marcello_dl (2685) on Sunday March 16 2014, @07:53AM (#17155)

            That is why you usb boot into clonezilla before even registering your windows installation, get rid of unwanted documents and image your entire hard drive. Of course this is not possible with secure boot, in that case return the faulty PC as it is a faulty PC as it does not do PERSONAL COMPUTING.

          • Re:Bad idea on many levels by tangomargarine (Score:2) Monday March 17 2014, @11:35AM
          • Re:Bad idea on many levels by Anonymous Coward (Score:0) Monday March 17 2014, @01:38PM
          • Re:Bad idea on many levels by Anonymous Coward (Score:0) Monday March 17 2014, @07:45PM
        • Re:Bad idea on many levels by tangomargarine (Score:2) Monday March 17 2014, @11:27AM
    • Re:Bad idea on many levels by gmby (Score:3) Saturday March 15 2014, @08:30PM
      • Re:Bad idea on many levels (Score:4, Informative)

        by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 15 2014, @10:10PM (#17040)

        Hacked is irrelevant. Giving them money for this sort of this is funding the loss of your own freedom to an even greater degree than buying an iPhone and then jail-breaking it. Intel should face a boycott for even mentioning this.

    • Re:Bad idea on many levels by tangomargarine (Score:2) Monday March 17 2014, @11:22AM
  • virtualization? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15 2014, @08:21PM (#17008)

    how's that work for virtual machines?

  • Spell it out (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15 2014, @08:33PM (#17018)

    Those in the know shed some light on this.

    Why would Intel do this? Who would demand such a "feature"?

  • Sensationalism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zyx Abacab (3701) on Saturday March 15 2014, @08:38PM (#17022)

    TFA and the summary are jumping to conclusions: the presence of this kind of hook is not the same as locking out other operating systems. In fact, the article's source doesn't even mention anything about OS locking!

    The article also conflates microcode (Stefan Lang does a good job of pointing that out) and kernel hooks, suggesting that the author is full of hot air.

    We should trust Intel only as far as we can throw it but, without a source, TFA's claim is just as credible as me saying that SoylentNews is powered by children's tears.

  • Look at Atom Z2760 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AnythingGoes (3345) on Saturday March 15 2014, @09:50PM (#17033)
    The current Z2760 is a good example of "OS" locking.

    Other OSes can still run, but only Windows 8 get the full benefits (basically Intel provides reference drivers only for Windows 8 platforms), and things like various sleep states, etc, only exist using the specialized drivers. For the moment, it is still possible to reverse engineer the driver, but how long before all this is mandatory, and unable to be disabled.

    Also, the use of 32bit secure boot and UEFI blocks most linux distributions from booting, and even though secureboot can be disabled, 32bit UEFI Linux is almost unknown everywhere.
    The heat is slowing being turned up, and either we keep fighting for systems that can boot any OS, else we all end up like peons in an Apple-like market.

    This is just an extension of the same principle.
    • Re:Look at Atom Z2760 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Angry Jesus (182) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 15 2014, @10:06PM (#17038)

      For the moment, it is still possible to reverse engineer the driver, but how long before all this is mandatory, and unable to be disabled.

      Check out the Intel Software Guard Extensions [oddee.com] - it's like TPM on steroids.

    • Re:Look at Atom Z2760 by Anonymous Coward (Score:0) Saturday March 15 2014, @10:44PM
    • Re:Look at Atom Z2760 by rev0lt (Score:1) Saturday March 15 2014, @11:25PM
      • Re:Look at Atom Z2760 (Score:5, Informative)

        by AnythingGoes (3345) on Saturday March 15 2014, @11:54PM (#17066)
        Atom Z2760 No Linux Support [h-online.com]
        Because even the graphics unit is not documented, so Linux developers have to reverse engineer it (worse than Nvidia since the entire component is on the chip and has no hardware snooping/breakout box). You will notice that for this specific processor, a lot of documentation is missing, as compared to the Core iX series.

        What I am saying here is that this is a departure from traditional Intel support, and it does not bode well for the future of any open society.

        As consumers, if you don't demand openness (or buy only from vendors that support it), then don't blame anyone if in future, all this openness is gone, and you can only buy special Windows CPU, with Windows Certified RAM, and Windows Certified storage that will not boot linux or work in other OSes.

        Just remember what the computing marketplace was like before the rise of commodity CPUs, RAM, storage where every company would want to extend their own "standard" to support special stuff...

        Just based on the rise of Apple and its closed ecosystem, this will be a bad sign for hobbyists/tinkerers/enthusiasts everywhere..
  • Sp (Score:0)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15 2014, @10:31PM (#17043)

    Now if you do get a virus on your phone, you can sue them for enforcing a virus?

    • Re:Sp by forsythe (Score:3) Saturday March 15 2014, @11:56PM
    • Re:Sp by AnythingGoes (Score:2) Saturday March 15 2014, @11:57PM
  • I told you so! (Score:1)

    by Subsentient (1111) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 16 2014, @12:48AM (#17082) Journal

    Perhaps now, you will wake up and join my small choir of those screaming bloody murder at the top of our lungs over boot-locked phones and tablets! A nice thought.

    --
    All things worth doing are difficult. That's part of what makes them worth doing. -Second Executor Benniliun
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