Thursday, October 04, 2018

A Serious Hack of a different kind


Hacking via software is bad, hacking via hardware is something else all together different in terms of unfettered access into every nook and cranny of the system being hacked ... for years on end.

To whit.

Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design. Amazon reported the discovery to U.S. authorities, sending a shudder through the intelligence community. Elemental’s servers could be found in Department of Defense data centers, the CIA’s drone operations, and the onboard networks of Navy warships. And Elemental was just one of hundreds of Supermicro customers.

During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines. Multiple people familiar with the matter say investigators found that the chips had been inserted at factories run by manufacturing subcontractors in China.

“Having a well-done, nation-state-level hardware implant surface would be like witnessing a unicorn jumping over a rainbow”

How best to do it.

There are two ways for spies to alter the guts of computer equipment. One, known as interdiction, consists of manipulating devices as they’re in transit from manufacturer to customer. This approach is favored by U.S. spy agencies, according to documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The other method involves seeding changes from the very beginning.


Perot is famous (among other things) for his statement during the 1992 presidential campaign that if NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was not a two way street (, it ed) would create a "giant sucking sound" of jobs going south to the cheap labor markets of Mexico.

Think China in 2018 as the US cannot make computers anymore, tech America invented but gave away for a song. Makes one weep doesn't it?

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