Disabling Thinkpad Security Features

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ThorOfAsgard
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Disabling Thinkpad Security Features

#1 Post by ThorOfAsgard » Fri May 19, 2017 6:43 am

The biggest problem I have with all these security features (Security Chip, AT, Computrace) is there's no source with a concise and clear practical description of what exactly these features do. I did some googling and read over Thinkwiki (http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Embedded_ ... _Subsystem) and have still come away without the slightest clue of whether or not I actually need these features. So I went ahead and disabled all of them in BIOS. I've noticed no change in functionality in how I use my system.

ThorOfAsgard
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Re: Disabling Thinkpad Security Features

#2 Post by ThorOfAsgard » Fri May 19, 2017 7:28 am

P.S. Is there any disadvantage to setting all of Intel AMT, AT, and Computrace to "Permanently Disabled"? They're all currently just "Disabled". I don't foresee myself needing any of these, but my life choices thus far have shown I'm not good at predicting the future.

dr_st
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Re: Disabling Thinkpad Security Features

#3 Post by dr_st » Fri May 19, 2017 7:44 am

You cannot set AMT to permanently disabled, but you can the other two.

The disadvantage is obvious - you can never enable them again, if you decide you want to. Most home users will never want to.
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ThorOfAsgard
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Re: Disabling Thinkpad Security Features

#4 Post by ThorOfAsgard » Fri May 19, 2017 7:51 am

dr_st wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 7:44 am
You cannot set AMT to permanently disabled, but you can the other two.

The disadvantage is obvious - you can never enable them again, if you decide you want to. Most home users will never want to.
There's definitely a BIOS option to permanently disable AMT. Just checked it again to be sure.

In any case, yes, it's obvious permanently disabled means permanently disabled. But I'm sure you're aware, when it comes to computers, there can be unforeseen consequences. For instance, and for a hypothetical example, you may find out through reading and asking, someone who says something like, "No, don't permanently disable X-feature if you have the C-rev chip, because due to a hardware bug, this prevents Y-feature from working properly and the only way to fix Y-feature once you've permanently disabled X-feature is to replace your motherboard."

Unforeseen consequences in computers and hardware...they do happen.

dr_st
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Re: Disabling Thinkpad Security Features

#5 Post by dr_st » Fri May 19, 2017 8:08 am

ThorOfAsgard wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 7:51 am
There's definitely a BIOS option to permanently disable AMT. Just checked it again to be sure.
Really? Which laptop is it? (and which BIOS version to be sure?)
ThorOfAsgard wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 7:51 am
"No, don't permanently disable X-feature if you have the C-rev chip, because due to a hardware bug, this prevents Y-feature from working properly and the only way to fix Y-feature once you've permanently disabled X-feature is to replace your motherboard."
In this case, all I can say is that in all the years Computrace, AT and AMT have been around, I have never heard of a single case where permanently disabling them affected anything else.
Current: X220 4291-4BG, T410 2537-R46, T60 1952-F76, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G
Collectibles: T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X32 (IPS Screen)
Retired: X61 7673-V2V, A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad
Past: Z61t 9440-A23, T60 2623-D3U, X32 2884-M5U

ThorOfAsgard
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Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Disabling Thinkpad Security Features

#6 Post by ThorOfAsgard » Fri May 19, 2017 8:14 am

I have a pair of T430s laptops, one with BIOS 2.02 and the other with 2.66. Both have the option to permanently disable AMT.

dr_st
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Re: Disabling Thinkpad Security Features

#7 Post by dr_st » Fri May 19, 2017 8:56 am

You are right, I stand corrected. This appears to be an important distinction between the *20 and *30 series.
Current: X220 4291-4BG, T410 2537-R46, T60 1952-F76, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G
Collectibles: T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X32 (IPS Screen)
Retired: X61 7673-V2V, A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad
Past: Z61t 9440-A23, T60 2623-D3U, X32 2884-M5U

shawross
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Re: Disabling Thinkpad Security Features

#8 Post by shawross » Fri May 19, 2017 6:51 pm

A lot of these so called security features actually install a backdoor to your OS. Intel AMT was recently found to be a backdoor.
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