Intel source code and internal documents hacked

Intel was hit by a significant data breach earlier this year in which a hacker made away with gigabytes of data, including source code and internal documentation.

A major leak of information, dubbed "Exconfidential Lake", was published by Swiss software developer Tillie Kottmann, who claims to have been passed hacked data by somebody who breached the firm earlier in the year.

The initial trove of 20GB of data allegedly contains source code, some of which mentions backdoors, classified documents, reference documents, and internal presentations. Details around the nature of the infiltration, and much of the data itself, hasn’t yet been disclosed, although Kottmann has said further information will be published soon.

Among the contents of the first release are Intel marketing material templates, schematics and firmware for the unreleased Tiger Lake platform and binaries for camera drivers that Intel made for SpaceX.

According to a pinned post on their Twitter page, Kottmann actively seeks confidential information, binaries or source code that people feel should be made available to the public. They added: “I can already tell you that the future parts of this leak will have even juicer and more classified stuff”.

Kotterman added on Twitter that users with access to the material should search "backdoor" in the firmware sources, and that password-protected zip files can occasionally be accessed by entering the password "Intel123" or "intel123".

The news is sure to come at the worst possible time for the chipmaker, which has reeled from a number of setbacks over the last month or so.

After being overtaken as the most valuable US chipmaker by Nvidia, Intel was forced to delay its 7nm CPUs till at least 2022 or 2023, for example, due to a "defect mode" in the 7nm process that caused a degradation in yield, according to its CEO. As a result, the company ousted its hardware chief Dr Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala

“We are investigating this situation," an Intel spokesperson said. "The information appears to come from the Intel Resource and Design Center, which hosts information for use by our customers, partners and other external parties who have registered for access. We believe an individual with access downloaded and shared this data."

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.