Image: Clive Darra, Flickr
Intel Management Engine (ME) has been known for over 10 years (since 2005), but official Internet sources about ME are few and far between. Fortunately, excellent works on the topic have been published in recent years. However, all of them deal with ME 10 and earlier, while modern computers implement ME 11, which was introduced in 2015 for the Skylake microarchitecture.
If you have never heard about ME, this is a good time to check out great slides from Igor Skochinsky about previous versions of ME.
In short, ME is a separate processor embedded in the chipset of any modern computer with an Intel CPU. ME runs even when the computer is sleeping or powered off (as long as it is plugged in to a power outlet). ME can access any part of RAM, but the RAM region used by ME is not accessible from the OS. What’s more, ME is capable of out-of-band access to the network adapter.