Intel responds to always-on 3G processor conspiracy

Every Intel vPro CPU ships with an undocumented 3G chip inside, according to a report, which is visible on the 3G network even when a PC is not turned on.

The idea is to enable the Anti Theft 3.0 technology, found on every Core i3, i5 and i7 CPU after Sandy Bridge, meaning almost every new CPU from Intel may have an embedded and hidden 3G connection Intel didn’t bother to tell you about, Softpedia reports.

While it is usually preferable to tackle the question at hand and not attack the source, the rumour appears to come from the PopularResistance blog, where the story is illustrated with a conspiracy-drenched mock-up of an all seeing eye with Intel in the middle, mentions of creeping fascism in the copy, and peppered with liberal doses of paranoia, a common theme in certain circles – not soothed by proof of the US government’s surveillance dragnet. 

Although the story is not entirely unfeasible, given the revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about backdoors installed into consumer and enterprise technology, as well as the NSA itself setting security certification standards, the actual concrete evidence is not there. 

Freelancer Jim Stone, of PopularResistance, claims: “You see, Core vPro processors work in conjunction with Intel’s new Anti Theft 3.0, which put 3g connectivity into every Intel CPU after the Sandy Bridge version of the I3/5/7 processors. Users do not get to know about that 3g connection, but it IS there.”

Stone goes on to say, speaking of the vPro: “From the technical viewpoint of someone who worked for an intelligence agency, I call B.S. on Intel, avoid these processors like the plague!”

An Intel spokesperson, responding to TechEye, said: “First, Intel does not participate in government efforts to decrease security in technology, and does not include backdoors for unauthorised access into its products.  

“Second, the piece on vPro is based on incorrect information, assumptions and misunderstandings; it is wrong on many levels,” the spokesperson said. “The underlying technology is not new and has been in place for more than 7 years.”

When asked if consumers or customers would appreciate hidden 3G technology in Intel CPUs, the spokesperson said: “I would note that the Snowden leaks was not mentioned in the vPro article that has been circulating”.