It’s not often that you have to pay not to get something, but for many people, it’s worth some dollars not to be exposed to the Intel’s fatally flawed Management Engine.
For Dell, it seems that is an opportunity, as the company is the latest addition to the list of Manufacturers providing an option to disable Intel Management Engine. Last week System76 rolled out an update to disable Intel ME followed by Purism who disabled ME on new computers. These companies might not be popular but they sure are taking security seriously. Now Dell has followed the same and is giving customers an option to have Intel ME disabled for just $20. At least three Dell computers can be configured with an “Intel vPro™ – ME Inoperable, Custom Order” option, by paying $20.
To put things in perspective, Intel ME is a hardware and software system designed to provide some remote management features. This system works independently which has its advantages and disadvantages. Recently the system has been criticised a lot for its mysterious applications and the usefulness for a common or enterprise user. Intel since has acknowledged this flaw which affects almost every single device shipped with 6th, 7th and 8th generation processors. The company has been working with OEMs to release updates to fix the vulnerability.
While the company has still not provided an official statement as to why ME was placed in the processors in the first place, it’s good to see them working with manufacturers to disable it completely. Nevertheless, ME is not suitable for home users and definitely not suitable for enterprise users, and presents another example of consumers being forced to accept intrusive measures on their PC in the supposed interest of manageability, something I think few regular consumers are asking for.