For years, security researchers have warned that unscrupulous hardware manufacturers or foreign governments could hijack the manufacturing process, installing backdoors into equipment that would be difficult to detect or stop. Now, we’ve caught the Chinese red-handed, and the fallout could be ugly.
An extensive report from Bloomberg details how Amazon’s investigation into deploying servers manufactured by Elemental Technologies led to the discovery of hardware backdoors smaller than a grain of rice. The chips had been hidden on Supermicro motherboards.
After discovering the chips in 2015, the government spent three years investigating the situation. They’ve determined that the hardware creates “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.”