Intel collects legacy hardware for security research

Big picture: Intel has been collecting and cataloging its obsolete hardware in a warehouse in Costa Rica over the past several years, but not for museums or other historical purposes. To ensure that customers of different generations of hardware are protected from newly discovered attacks, Intel needs samples of its older hardware for testing. This turned out to be a problem for a while, given that, until recently, the company did not have a formal method of cataloging and storing obsolete equipment.

The chipmaker releases a lot of new and updated hardware every year, but most consumers don’t update to the latest and greatest with each successive release. This creates a trail of legacy products that continue to be actively used in the wild, all of which are vulnerable to various security vulnerabilities.

Mohsen Fazlian, General Manager of Product Safety and Product Safety at Intel, spoke about this. Wall Street Magazine that some hardware was so scared inside Intel that they had to turn to eBay to secure their used samples.

The second generation Intel Core processor family, codenamed Sandy Bridge, was named by name. Microarchitecture was launched in early 2011 and discontinued in the second half of 2013.

Intel’s Long-Term Storage Lab opened in the second half of 2019 and houses some 3,000 pieces of legacy hardware and software dating back roughly a decade. At any given time, there are about 25 employees on site, ready to assemble the machine at the request of an Intel engineer and make it available via the cloud for remote testing.

The lab manager told The Journal that they receive about 1,000 system requests per month and about 50 new pieces of equipment each week. Intel plans to double its warehouse space next year to accommodate roughly 6,000 parts.

Intel could learn a thing or two from Nintendo. Back in 2016, the Japanese gaming giant announced that its headquarters store equipment in excellent condition, which is already several decades old.

Image Credit Fritzchens Fritz

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