It's Now Possible To Disable & Strip Down Intel's ME Blob
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 12 January 2017 at 02:00 PM EST. 54 Comments
INTEL --
Many free software advocates have been concerned by Intel's binary-only Management Engine (ME) built into the motherboards on newer generations of Intel motherboards. The good news is there is now a working, third-party approach for disabling the ME and reducing the risk of its binary blobs.

Via an open-source, third-party tool called me_cleaner it's possible to partially deblob Intel's ME firmware images by removing any unnecessary partitions from the firmware, reducing its ability to interface with the system. The me_cleaner works not only with free software firmware images like Coreboot/Libreboot but can also work with factory-blobbed images. I was able to confirm with a Coreboot developer that this program can disable the ME on older boards or devices with BootGuard and disable Secure Boot. This is all done with a Python script.

Those unfamiliar with the implications on Intel's ME for those wanting a fully-open system can read about it on Libreboot.org.

ME_Cleaner has been tested with boards ranging from Nehalem to Skylake with ME engines ranging from 6.0 to 11.x. With the exception of some Ibex Peak boards and not yet testing Broadwell mobile systems, ME_Cleaner is working as outlined via this matrix.

Those wishing to learn about ME_Cleaner for trying to eliminate Intel's Management Engine form your system as much as possible can visit the GitHub project site to learn more.

About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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