Intel CPU ME is “In a nutshell, Intel ME is a small computer inside the motherboard chipset running independently of the operating system (OS). It runs when the computer is in sleep or standby modes, and even when switched off. It’s enough to have the computer’s power supply plugged into the power outlet, or have the battery inside the notebook for this small, silent computer to run in the background.” (Read more about the basics of Intel Management Engine and Minix Operating system)
So, yes, you have two computers. One you use and a hidden, secret and closed source computer your CPU uses.
Recently, (8th of November 2017) this IT Website said that: “MINIX is the most widely used Operating system on planet earth” (and not Apple, Windows, Linux, BSD, Android) as both Intel and AMD central processing units run Minix.
There are already vulnerabilities for this closed source, hidden and mostly secret operating system (with full networking and more). These hidden and secret monitoring functionalities of device and computer hardware are already used by Governments and Cyber Criminals alike.
The general public are now learning about how the devices they are purchasing also includes hidden spyware that cannot be easily disabled.
Strangely Governments around the world, not only the South African Government, has not yet made any statement to protect South Africans from being exploited by foreign Governments or foreign Government agents. (and now from Cyber Criminals)
What is being done is that network traffic that looks like ME traffic is being dropped by networks, corporate firewalls and firewalls. This will probably lessen or reduce the impact of this issue. It is only time before the now still secret 0 day (zero day) exploits become public and the hundreds of ways code is executed on your devices are able to target your specific ME. Of course it may or may not turn your device into a brick (the writers ACER notebook was bricked after being exploited outside of his operating system) – Read more about attempting to disable the Intel ME (11), here. To just also mention, again, AMD central processing units also ship with hidden os.