At the end of 2017, a number of chipset security flaws were announced. Whilst each manufacturer is planning on releasing fixes to plug the issues, the one area where you need to take steps to check for yourself is your chip’s firmware to see if it's affected by a security flaw. To this end, Intel has developed the standalone Intel-SA-00086 Detection Tool to check for the Management Engine issue.

Download this from the link provided, then extract the contents of the zip file to its own folder.

Inside here you’ll find three folders: open DiscoveryTool.GUI and double-click the .exe file inside. This will run a brief test before displaying the results: a clearly labelled “This system is vulnerable” is likely to be displayed if you’ve not updated the Intel Management Engine firmware to the post-patched version.

From here click the link provided to open a web page with convenient links to major PC and motherboard manufacturers, who will be responsible for delivering the required patches. If your manufacturer isn’t covered, visit its support pages where you should find instructions on what to do next.

Note, modern motherboards will be fixed first, but the fate for older chipsets remains uncertain – Intel has only promised to release microcode updates for "90%" of CPUs that are five years old or newer, but some manufacturers may not bother to support older processors: Asus recently stated it would only support chipsets going back three years, for example. You may need to keep checking back regularly to see if a fix has been released.

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An essential download for anyone running a PC with an Intel chip – it’ll help you determine if you need a firmware update.