Some important technical (and skeptical) notes about the Chinese-backdoored-servers story

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Yesterday, Bloomberg published a blockbuster story accusing the Chinese military of sneaking spy-chips “the size of a grain of rice” onto the motherboards of servers sold by Supermicro and/or Elemental for use in data-centers operated by the biggest US corporations (Apple and Amazon, among others), as well as US warships and military data-centers, and the servers used by Congress and the Senate.

Several of the involved parties issues detailed, emphatic denials, producing aa kind of he-said/she-said situation where it’s hard to know who to believe (it doesn’t help that Bloomberg’s article relied exclusively on anonymous sources, albeit multiple sources for each claim).

If you — like me — are struggling to make sense of the situation, here is some further reading.

First is a pair of twitter threads by Joe Fitz, owner of the first is largely nontechnical and talks about some of the logistical challenges involved; the second is more technical and gets into some very chewy details.

At one point in time I had a conversation about how I would put a hardware implant into a system. I’m delighted to see @qrs had a very similar assessment:

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