May 29, 2012
A microchip used by the US military and manufactured in China contains a secret “backdoor” that means it can be shut off or reprogrammed without the user knowing, according to researchers at Cambridge University’s Computing Laboratory.
UPDATE: However, one security consultancy has said that the implication that the backdoor might have been secretly inserted by the Chinese manufacturer is “bogus”, and that malicious intent is unlikely.
In a draft paper, Cambridge University researcher Sergei Skorobogatov wrote that the chip in question is widely used in military and industrial applications. The “backdoor” means it is “wide open to intellectual property theft, fraud and reverse engineering of the design to allow the introduction of a backdoor or Trojan”, they said.