A massive computer hack attack has been discovered after a tiny chip was discovered hidden in millions of Chinese products sold to Americans.
A new report by Bloomberg Businessweek claimed that the Chinese military added the hacking chip to the circuit boards of a list of products giving them secret access to the computer systems of dozens of major American companies as well as government agencies.
Bloomberg cited an investigation conducted by the U.S. government, Breitbart News reported:
Amazon.com reportedly hired security consultants in 2015 to evaluate the products of a promising startup called Elemental Technologies, which makes media storage servers that would be highly useful to Amazon’s Prime Video service. The consultants discovered the Elemental servers, assembled by yet another company called Super Micro Computer or “Supermicro,” had been sabotaged with “a tiny microchip not much bigger than a grain of rice.”
This minuscule alien chip allowed hackers to open a “stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines.” It was designed to quietly signal outside computers controlled by hackers and give them such powerful access to the motherboard that they could effectively disable password systems, steal encryption keys, and sabotage security software. The extent of the attack was discovered, in part, by intercepting the signals sent by compromised computers to the waiting hackers.
The spy chip was not put there by Supermicro. It was already on the circuit boards they purchased from suppliers, which in turn obtained them from factories in China.
This is the kind of “seeding” technique that prompted some of the highest-profile U.S. actions against Chinese electronics companies.
It would appear the Amazon-Elemental-Super Micro discovery was on the minds of policymakers all along because the little spy chip was duly reported to the U.S. government as soon as it was discovered. The U.S. intelligence community was already working on a tip from about a year earlier about Chinese plans to compromise the servers used by American corporations and sensitive government agencies.
This is a huge story, America. It proves several things, first and foremost that the Chinese use their economic might as a military weapon against the world.
After all, these spy chips have been hidden in Chinese-made electronics that have been shipped all across the world, not just the USA.
It also shows that the Chinese cannot be trusted on any level. They are humanity’s enemy, not just ours.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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