06 September 2017

Intel ME Security Issue and how to fix it

Intel ME is a coprocessor integrated in all post-2006 Intel boards, for which this Libreboot page has an excellent description. The main component of Intel ME is Intel AMT, and I suggest you to read this Wikipedia page for more information about it. In short, Intel ME is an irremovable environment with an obscure signed proprietary firmware, with full network and memory access, which poses a serious security threat. Even when disabled from the BIOS settings, Intel ME is active: the only way to be sure it is disabled is to remove its firmware from the flash chip.
Before Nehalem (ME version 6, 2008/2009) the ME firmware could be removed completely from the flash chip by setting a couple of bits inside the flash descriptor, without the need to reverse-engineer the ME firmware.
Starting from Nehalem the Intel ME firmware can't be removed anymore: without a valid firmware the PC shuts off forcefully after 30 minutes. This project is an attempt to remove as much code as possible from such firmware without falling into the 30 minutes recovery mode.
me_cleaner currently works on most architectures, see me_cleaner status (or its discussion) for more info about them. me_cleaner works also on the TXE and SPS firmware.
If you want to understand how me_cleaner works, you can read the "How does it work?" page.
If you want to apply me_cleaner on your platform I suggest you to read the "How does it work?" page and then follow the guide "How to apply me_cleaner".
For pre-Skylake firmware (ME version < 11) this tool removes almost everything, leaving only the two fundamental modules needed for the correct boot, ROMP and BUP. The code size is reduced from 1.5 MB (non-AMT firmware) or 5 MB (AMT firmware) to ~90 kB of compressed code.
Starting from Skylake (ME version >= 11) the ME subsystem and the firmware structure have changed, requiring substantial changes in me_cleaner. The fundamental modules required for the correct boot are now four (rbe, kernel, syslib and bup) and the minimum code size is ~300 kB of compressed code (from the 2 MB of the non-AMT firmware and the 7 MB of the AMT one).
This project is based on the work of the community; in particular I thank Igor Skochinsky, for the core information about Intel ME and its firmware structure, and Federico Amedeo Izzo, for its help during the study of Intel ME.

Source, author and tools: Github

02 September 2017

How to stop Microsoft messing up your privacy in Windows 7.

     As I stated here for Windows 10, this one is for windows 7.
     I did a lot of research and I don't remember all the sources (sorry, let me know in comments if you have some so I can put here).
     There's a shitload of KBs, so I'll not link every single one, you can research yourself right? RIGHT?. I've checked every single KB and none of them have a direct impact to windows functionality (actually, it's just a bunch of hideous reporting mess).
     Heres a script to make your life easier. You can run safely after doing a full update (reboot after running the script).


06 June 2017

Pidgin icon issue

     If you use pidgin, you'll notice that pidgin have issues in most window managers (gnome, cinnamon, <put something more here>). I see this issue a lot of times in pidgin's issue tracker but i don't know exactly who did it wrong, but since I'm able to fix it easily....
     After searching for a while, I find this (quite old and still an issue). So the problem is the hicolor icon theme... ffs. Let's fix this (atm, it's quite different to fix it, but it works):

1) Go to this folder: /usr/share/pixmaps/pidgin/tray/hicolor
2) Make a backup or just rename your 16x16 to something else (16x16.old will do it)
3) Link or copy your 22x22 to a new 16x16 folder
4) Restart your WM

     It's quite an odd fix, but it works (until someone fix it properly and I have OCD with the problematic icon).

08 February 2017

TL-WN725N: "link is not ready, ERROR indicate disassoc" issues and how to fix it

     I was trying to configure a notebook with a R8188EU adapter and I see an interesting issue. In some random scenarios, this adapter just doesn't work and gives errors in dmesg like this:

[ 1063.859661] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlp0s26u1u3: link is not ready
[ 1063.907145] R8188EU: ERROR indicate disassoc
[ 1064.008095] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlp0s26u1u3: link is not ready
[ 1065.279303] R8188EU: ERROR indicate disassoc
[ 1065.380294] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlp0s26u1u3: link is not ready
[ 1065.430806] R8188EU: ERROR indicate disassoc

     You can connect if you try to connect a "hidden network" and actually put your non-hidden ssid there and password, if you don't care to do this every time you boot the system, of course. To fix this issue, edit your /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf and add this:

[device]
wifi.scan-rand-mac-address=no