We Outsourced Our Computer Hardware to China, and China Hacked Us
China is an enemy state.
We allowed China and other Asian countries to eat up our tech hardware industry with their subsidies. As a result, our supposed secrets run on hardware manufactured by companies in China, or manufactured by Chinese companies.
The results are as surprising as putting Kaspersky anti-virus on your computer.
A bombshell Bloomberg report today suggests that the Chinese government has been hacking American companies in a fairly astonishing manner: inserting tiny chips into computers manufactured in China. The report claims that thousands of compromised servers were sold by Supermicro, which once supplied Apple and Amazon datacenters, and that multiple U.S. security agencies have been investigating the breach in a top-secret probe since at least 2014.
According to the report, Chinese spies developed pencil tip-sized chips that could be placed on computer motherboards and resembled innocuous components despite containing their own memory, networking, and processing capabilities. The spies allegedly infiltrated Supermicro’s subcontractors, adding the chips to servers without being detected. Once the servers were powered on, the chips compromised the server’s operating system and sat awaiting further instructions from attackers.
China’s goal, Bloomberg says, was to obtain long-term access to government networks and corporate secrets; neither consumer data nor computers sold to consumers are believed to have been affected. Yet as Supermicro is one of the world’s leading server motherboard suppliers and also “dominates” the supply of custom boards used in high-end electronics, its scope in hardware is said to be like Microsoft’s in software. “Attacking Supermicro motherboards is like attacking Windows,” a former U.S. intelligence official told Bloomberg. “It’s like attacking the whole world.”
The whole world runs on hardware made in Asia. There were warnings that exactly this would happen as far back as the eighties.
As long as that’s the case, the world is vulnerable. President Trump has spoken about moving certain kinds of manufacturing back to the United States. Computer hardware should be at the top of the list. Rare earth supplies need to be secured. Because right now America’s tech dominance is just a hollow shell sitting in Shanghai.
This was one incident. There were countless more, I’m sure. I doubt there’s any secret that we have that China doesn’t. And as long as our phones, our servers, and our systems are based on Chinese manufactured technology, we will have no secrets, corporate, military or technological, from the People’s Republic.