n interesting cryptome-distributed article asks if intel have so rigged PCs motherboard design concepts that the whole concept is designed to work with a huge sensor and data delivery network (known as mobile phones), in order that phone – when in the vicinity of the PC – can deliver codes that induce compromised, self-replicating and obviously broken firmware into the PC – in order to make it susceptible AT THE HARDWARE layer to NSA/GCHQs library of exploits.
ONE should ask.. WHY not (sounds like a good idea, GCHQ!)
One might also search my blog for previous rantings on the core idea.
Lets assume that intel arrange for flash on the CPU itself to hold a store of micro-code that can be updated by phones, signaling in a manner that exploits the local power-modulation channel.
If you prefer to visualize a sound-channel between phone speaker and PC mic then do so… since the principle is the same. over the power-modulation channel, the sideband signals are recognized by the software-radio tuner in the core of the intel PC, and are used to update the “new node in the active-network” (to cite the DARPA research). Being an “active” network, the PC can replicate its power-signature to other devices in the vicinity, so as to compromise a local network .. .and reach from within OUT to the router (to open up the reverse channel).
Assume the worst, and go look.
You should find that the CPU has threads that are not visible to the OS, and on those threads it running a software-radio, that boots further radio compatibility as its brought further-online – according to the attack parameters being broadcast.
Assume snowden docs have technical details of such techniques (since UK cabinet secretary is known to have them…) but they are being suppressed by the journalists. Assume furthermore that US embassies (and others in the 5-eyes set) are ASSERTING signals in the locality to accomplish such things. Don’t assume that they are passive receivers!