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AMT/MEBX on Debian

I’ve just been playing with Intel’s Active Management Technology (AMT) [1] which is also known as Management Engine Bios Extension (MEBX).

Firstly a disclaimer, using this sort of technology gives remote access to your system at a level that allows in some ways overriding the OS. If this gets broken then you have big problems. Also all the code that matters is non-free. Please don’t comment on this post saying that AMT is bad, take it as known that it has issues and that people are forced to use it anyway.

I tested this out on a HP Z420 workstation. The first thing it to enable AMT via Intel “MEBX”, the default password is “admin”. On first use you are compelled to set a new password which must be 8+ characters containing upper and lower case, number, and punctuation characters.

The Debian package “amtterm” (which needs the package “libsoap-lite-perl“) has basic utilities for AMT. The amttool program connects to TCP port 16992 and the amtterm program connects to TCP port 16994. Note that these programs seem a little rough, you can get Perl errors (as opposed to deliberate help messages) if you enter bad command-line parameters. They basically work but could do with some improvement.

If you use DHCP for the IP address the DHCP hostname will be “DESKTOP-$AssetID” and you can find the IP address by requesting an alert be sent to the sysadmin.

Here are some examples of amttool usage:

# get AMT info
AMT_PASSWORD="$PASS" amttool $IP
# reset the system and redirect BIOS messages to serial over lan
AMT_PASSWORD="$PASS" amttool reset bios
# access serial over lan console
amtterm -p "$PASS" $IP

The following APT configuration enables the Ubuntu package wsmancli which had some features not in any Debian packages last time I checked.

deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ bionic-updates universe
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ bionic universe

This Cyberciti article has information on accessing KVM over AMT [2], I haven’t tried to do that yet.

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