Attacks/Breaches

10/4/2018
03:30 PM
50%
50%

Report: In Huge Hack, Chinese Manufacturer Sneaks Backdoors Onto Motherboards

If true, the attack using Supermicro motherboards could be the most comprehensive cyber breach in history.

According to a new article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, manufacturing plants in China implanted tiny network monitoring and control chips on motherboards made for U.S. manufacturer Supermicro. Supermicro motherboards are commonly used in white-box servers, including those purchased for data center use by companies like Amazon and Apple.

The article says that the chips were discovered during a due-diligence security survey conducted on computers manufactured by Elemental, a company making systems for high-speed data streaming. Worse yet, according to Bloomberg, "Elemental’s servers could be found in Department of Defense data centers, the CIA’s drone operations, and the onboard networks of Navy warships. And Elemental was just one of hundreds of Supermicro customers."

Security researchers quoted in the piece say that the purpose of the chips is to change the operating system core so that it will accept externally sourced changes, opening a backdoor into the system that can be used for a variety of purposes. Amazon, Apple, and Supermicro have all denied the details of the article, though Bloomberg is standing behind its reporting and says that critical details have been corroborated by current and former government employees.

In a statement to Dark Reading, Joseph Carson, chief security scientist at Thycotic, said: "We are one step away from a major cyber conflict or retaliation that could result in serious implications. However, what is clear is that it is a government behind this cyber espionage and I believe it is compromised employees with privileged access that are acting as malicious insiders selecting specific targets so the supply chain has been victim of being compromised. The motive will not be clear until exact details of the hardware chip is reversed to know what it is capable of and who are the victims since no one is owning up from any of the Supermicro’s customers."

Dark Reading will continue to follow this story as it develops.

For more, read here

 

Black Hat Europe returns to London Dec 3-6 2018  with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Alexandre Cagnoni
50%
50%
Alexandre Cagnoni,
User Rank: Author
10/5/2018 | 5:29:08 PM
Economic effects as well
This could have major economic impacts beyond the obvious security ones. If true, it could change the way the world has to manufacture and buy computers if the country that is responsible for 90% of computer hardware is doing this. That's a major shift in manufacturing that we are not prepared for!
REISEN1955
100%
0%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
10/5/2018 | 3:09:48 PM
Made in China - it's cheaper
For years, American manufacturing firms have let Chinese workers build a wide range of products, consumer and tech intensive and for those years we have freely given them our technology to replicate, study and use.  Every laptop that went to the old Olympic game came back with malware.  Every one.  Nobody talks of that nor the blatant opportunity to just COPY what we give them.  And for this we are now surprised!!!   They are NOT friendly to us - get that!!!   Neither Russia and host of other countries.  This tech achievement is impressive in scope but should have been expected all along.   We are blind on many things.  
Russia Hacked Clinton's Computers Five Hours After Trump's Call
Robert Lemos, Technology Journalist/Data Researcher,  4/19/2019
Why We Need a 'Cleaner Internet'
Darren Anstee, Chief Technology Officer at Arbor Networks,  4/19/2019
Sensitive Data Lingers on Used Storage Drives Sold Online
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading,  4/25/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-11538
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-26
In Pulse Secure Pulse Connect Secure version 9.0RX before 9.0R3.4, 8.3RX before 8.3R7.1, 8.2RX before 8.2R12.1, and 8.1RX before 8.1R15.1, an NFS problem could allow an authenticated attacker to access the contents of arbitrary files on the affected device.
CVE-2019-11539
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-26
In Pulse Secure Pulse Connect Secure version 9.0RX before 9.0R3.4, 8.3RX before 8.3R7.1, 8.2RX before 8.2R12.1, and 8.1RX before 8.1R15.1 and Pulse Policy Secure version 9.0RX before 9.0R3.2, 5.4RX before 5.4R7.1, 5.3RX before 5.3R12.1, 5.2RX before 5.2R12.1, and 5.1RX before 5.1R15.1, the admin web...
CVE-2019-11540
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-26
In Pulse Secure Pulse Connect Secure version 9.0RX before 9.0R3.4 and 8.3RX before 8.3R7.1 and Pulse Policy Secure version 9.0RX before 9.0R3.2 and 5.4RX before 5.4R7.1, an unauthenticated, remote attacker can conduct a session hijacking attack.
CVE-2019-11541
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-26
In Pulse Secure Pulse Connect Secure version 9.0RX before 9.0R3.4, 8.3RX before 8.3R7.1, and 8.2RX before 8.2R12.1, users using SAML authentication with the Reuse Existing NC (Pulse) Session option may see authentication leaks.
CVE-2019-11542
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-26
In Pulse Secure Pulse Connect Secure version 9.0RX before 9.0R3.4, 8.3RX before 8.3R7.1, 8.2RX before 8.2R12.1, and 8.1RX before 8.1R15.1 and Pulse Policy Secure version 9.0RX before 9.0R3.2, 5.4RX before 5.4R7.1, 5.3RX before 5.3R12.1, 5.2RX before 5.2R12.1, and 5.1RX before 5.1R15.1, an authentica...