|No current means exists to protect hardware from viruses|
The backdoor access could be turned into an advanced Stuxnet weapon to attack potentially millions of systems
A computer chip manufactured in China that is used in US military equipment contains a secret “backdoor” that could severely compromise security, a team of scientists from Cambridge University says.
In a recent report, Sergei Skorobogatov, a senior research associate at the University of Cambridge’s computer laboratory, wrote that his team had developed silicon chip scanning technology that allowed them to investigate claims by various intelligence services worldwide that silicon chips could be infected by malware, such as Stuxnet, that can allow a third party to gain access to or transmit confidential data.
Unlike software, no means currently exist to protect hardware against viruses or Trojan horses, a critical vulnerability for defense systems that are hardware-reliant.
For its research, Skorobogatov’s team selected a chip that was manufactured in China and is used by the US military. The chip, which is prevalent in many systems used in weapons, nuclear power plants and public transport, was considered highly secure and used sophisticated encryption standards. After performing advanced code breaking, the team found a backdoor they say had been inserted by the manufacturer.
My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.