The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies


#1

The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies

This seems like big news.


#2

I’ve been waiting for something like this for years. It’s a Brave New World…


#3

So China is good at copying others then??


#4

I know English is not your first language. Here is some clarification:

COPY
verb
1- make a similar or identical version of; reproduce.
imitate the style or behavior
“lifestyles that were copied from Miami and Fifth Avenue”

STEAL
verb
1- take (another person’s property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.
“thieves stole her bicycle”


#5

Supply chain attacks are deadly. If you want to read up on a doozie during the Cold War, try this:

The GUNMAN Project

Cheers,

Earl


#6

I’m sure there will be an active comment stream on Ars Technica.


#7

Thanks for that timely clarification.
So China neither copied or stole anything then??
Or are you saying that China copied USA in interfering in other countries affairs and stole the idea of making back doors in smartphones from USA?? That can not be right. Or could it??

BTW; Sorry about my weak understanding of the English language.


#8

Y’know, this is a fascinating as well as frightening story. It would make a lot of sense to me to quit sniping back and forth about China and consider the attack itself rather than the national characteristics of the attackers. The attack was technically sophisticated and apparently very well executed. Hardly a copycat exercise.

I’m looking at you, @ombugge as the instigator here.


#9

I’m not a technology guy, but it was intuitively obvious to me many years ago that China was building backdoors, shutdowns, and spoofing cababilities into all the electronics that they export.

I have no doubt that China can instruct Chinese made engine control modules to go full throttle or irreverseably shut down anytime it wants to. Or instruct millions of toasters to overheat and catch fire in the middle of the night. Or instruct switches to overload and burn out key power grid or communications components anytime it wants to. Or instruct cell phones to stop working.

The US government and US corporations were crazy and blinded by cheap imports and easy profits to let this happen. And it was so obvious.

All US government and national infrastructure systems should be made exclusively in the US, by US companies in highly secure factories exclusively for use in the US.

Chinese products containing electronics should be banned. Period. Most Chinese student, work, and business visas should be revoked and they should be sent home.

China should be cutoff from free and open internet and communication access to IS networks.

Same with North Korea, Russia, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.


#10

So better isolate the US from any interference by pesky foreigners. No import, no export and no participation in any international organisations. Total reliance on domestic resources and no need for any interaction with anybody. (Except maybe the Canadians and Mexicans?)
I believe the North Korean even have a name for it; JUCHE:


#11

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. After all it has been the mantra here that China only know how to copy and steal from the West, mainly the US.

It does appear that they are growing out of that, just like Japan did a few decades ago.

No hard feeling, I hope!!


#12

No hard feelings.


#13

Geez, what’s next? Prohibiting export of crude oil and whole logs? Pretty soon people will want American owned, American flagged ships crewed by Americans to carry American cargo. Do you have any idea what that will do to campaign funding?


#14

People remember (I do…) cheap sheet metal toys from Japan in the '50s and forget that Japan was an accomplished industrial power pre-war. Their optical industry rivaled (and still does) Germany’s. They had night search binoculars on their DDs that could see us when we were certain it was too dark to see anything. I grew up with half of one of them. Of course radar took a lot of the sport out of that exercise.

The cheap toys were Gen. MacArthur’s idea of a way to get some cashflow coming into their wrecked economy using available materials like tin cans.

I have a 25 mm micrometer Dad got in Tokyo right after the war – his LCS was there for a while after hostilities ceased. It had been damaged; then repaired and given a new serial number by an expert craftsman who made a new sleeve and female thread out of copper with scribed graduation lines. Works just fine.


#15

Two or three decades ago the Japanese was the bogeymen that was buying up American properties and trying to “take over the world”. Now they are only remembered when they refuse to import American beef and cars that do not sell in Japan.


#16

I’m pretty sure that’s not the case in the US. Perhaps in some segments of the population…


#17

I found this book about North Korea fascinating. It has received mixed reviews as stated in the article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cleanest_Race


#18

It seams like the paranoia is spreading to north of the border:


I would be specially worried about Chinese made anchors and chains:

Maybe they have embedded chips and can be ordered to fail at a critical moment?


#19

You should. I work with Chinese anchors and have had constant issues with cracking near the crown which have required repair at every special survey.

You are being really snarky on this thread, eh? What is there to defend on revelations that a premeditated effort was made by a nation-state to install malicious hardware in its export products? Your opinion that it’s China and we as Americans don’t understand their intentions? Seems pretty obvious with shenanigans like this.


#20

This is from PC Magazine

Does Your Motherboard Have a Secret Chinese Spy Chip?

A Bloomberg news story claiming that China has been secretly planting a spy chip in server motherboards used by US companies has prompted a rush by security researchers to try and find it, amid denials from the companies affected.

That article contains a link to this U.S. DOD article from 2005 about the issue. Defense Science Board Task Force On HIGH PERFORMANCE MICROCHIP SUPPLY (pdf)