RIP Philo

STOP PRESS. China inserts backdoor chips into servers

Chinese factories making server computers for Super Micro Computer (US company) implant rice-grain-sized chip that wasn't part of the design.

The implications are obvious.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies

This article neatly spells out various issues.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/stealth-doorway-china-s-stunning-server-hack-shows-its-true-hand-20181008-p508co.html
Permalink ,ndo 
October 8th, 2018 7:59pm
Everybody named in the article has issued very specific and comprehensive denials of every claim in the Bloomberg article. Including the federal government. They all have also said that they explained in great detail to Bloomberg none of their claims were true, and repeatedly asked to see any evidence whatsoever of their claims, which Bloomberg refused to provide every time.

So it seems Bloomberg is engaging in market manipulation for some reason.

See the photos in the article of the chips? They used a real photo of one of the company's boards, but there's no extra chip where they show. Bloomberg first claimed these were actual photos, then changed to say it was an artist rendition of where the secret chip might be.
Permalink McCain's Tumor 
October 8th, 2018 8:19pm
Also, lets say there are some boards found at some point. Just because the boards are made in China doesn't mean shit.

US companies design the circuits and send the board files to China to be made.

It's trivial for the NSA, and not too hard for various other interested parties, to intercept the sending of the files and insert an unpopulated footpad which normally does nothing.

Then when the boards get shipped from the company or from retailers to the end customer, for certain special customers, the CIA intercepts the packages and adds a chip at a facility that does this stuff. The Snowden files disclosed this. If you are of interest to the government and you order a computer, cell phone, etc, and it's shipped to you, they just check a box and the box gets diverted to a special center to have "additions" made. I'm not going to look it up in the Snowden stuff, but it was covered in some of the Guardian and Intercept coverage, so it's an absolute fact they do this.

I personally think that all consumer electronics has special spots added to them so that things can later be added, and I think the Chinese aren't clever enough to think of this, however now that they've heard of the idea, they might start doing it.

US government/Apple/etc all know about the hack and can't say anything about it because it's a CIA hack.
Permalink McCain's Tumor 
October 8th, 2018 8:25pm
Point is that the mistake is that this is specific to this company and not actually specific to nearly all companies, and definitely including Apple and Google designed products.

Nearly every board these days has unpopulated pads here and there, sometimes to support variations in 'different' models that use the same basic boards.

It wouldn't be surprising if these pads are even on the official schematics and have some "plausible" reason for being there, but are never populated with the "optional" part, and are always for adding intercept and monitoring code.

BTW, don't need this with Intel stuff so much since every Intel chip has a Minix computer running in ring "-10", far more privileged than root, which has total access to everything you do, and includes a web server back door that the NSA connects to anytime they want to look around your computer leaving no trace at all.
Permalink McCain's Tumor 
October 8th, 2018 8:31pm
So imposter you're contending the photo is of the actual implanted chip then, huh?
Permalink McCain's Tumor 
October 8th, 2018 8:32pm
Links to actual denials would be good. The denials in the Bloomberg article are of the they-would-say-that variety.

A year or two ago a new building for the Defence Department in Canberra was found to be compromised. By Chinese gear. All the security has to be redone, at a cost of countless millions of dollars.

Huawei, one of the companies mentioned in the Bloomberg article, has been banned by the Aus government from participating in the rollout of the 5G network, on security grounds.

China-affiliated companies have been banned from participating in defence-related projects, on security grounds.

So I'm inclined to take at face value the Bloomberg claims. Credible counterclaims are welcome. If the Bloomberg article is fake news, that would be very interesting. Israel attacking China perhaps.
Permalink ,ndo 
October 8th, 2018 9:32pm
Apple and Amazon emphatically deny the story, being more expansive than they need to be or have a history of being.

Bloomberg emphatically stick to their story, despite the denials and despite having earlier denials before they ran the story.

Something's got to give...
Permalink ,ndo 
October 9th, 2018 12:44am
If there are National Security Letters involved, there will be denials all around.
Permalink Send private email xampl9 (Moto phone) 
October 9th, 2018 6:05am

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