Open thread October 5, 2018 Dan Crawford | October 5, 2018 11:04 am Tags: open thread Comments (8) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Post Policy Politics, a Prediction:
The riddle of 2020 will be how any candidate opposing trump will manage to compete with his train wreck 24/7 coverage. He’s obnoxious, arrogant, crude, explicitly racist, wrong about everything, and *he commands massive ratings*. If the news business keeps paying the bills by selling corn chips, prescription drugs, trucks, cell phones etc you need the eyeballs or no bills get paid and thus no coverage.
So the Democrats (presuming they survive to 2020 and haven’t been yet declared illegal) are going to need a candidate who can match The Donald insult for comic insult.
Howard Stern/Rosie O’Donnell 2020! Entertainers you can believe in! The commercial endorsements alone will fund the campaign! Why bother with boring policy position papers, just pop the popcorn and enjoy yourself!
There was a great article in Bloomberg yesterday morning titled “The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies”.
A Chinese manufacturer received a contract to build a PC board for Super Micro Computer Inc which produced network servers in the US. That Chinese company altered the PC board by installing small integrated circuit chips onto the board. Those chips allowed a back door access to any server in which the board was installed. The hardware hack was discovered when Amazon was investigating the US company with an eye toward purchasing it. Amazon had a security company in Canada investigate the company’s hardware for any possible security issues, and they found that chip.
This board is used in servers in business and the defense department.
To accomplish this hack, the Chinese company had to understand the board design completely. (Hardware and Software)
This revelation was highly classified information and all the US companies are denying the story:
“The companies’ denials are countered by six current and former senior national security officials, who—in conversations that began during the Obama administration and continued under the Trump administration—detailed the discovery of the chips and the government’s investigation. One of those officials and two people inside AWS provided extensive information on how the attack played out at Elemental and Amazon; the official and one of the insiders also described Amazon’s cooperation with the government investigation. In addition to the three Apple insiders, four of the six U.S. officials confirmed that Apple was a victim. In all, 17 people confirmed the manipulation of Supermicro’s hardware and other elements of the attacks. The sources were granted anonymity because of the sensitive, and in some cases classified, nature of the information.”
This is one more reason for US companies to avoid a supply chain which includes China.
It should be noted that this hack would not have been found if it had been carried out on the inside of a larger integrated circuit chip!
I don’t mind if large corporations lose their competitive advantage by reckless distribution of their intellectual property.
But I am concerned that the rest of us have some terrible risk imposed on us by these corporations’ perfidy.
Yeah Joe I agree that is an interesting piece. Perhaps even more interesting is the part that (mostly) got left out: The fact that SMC is building quite a few OEMs components and systems who are not named Apple or Amazon. So despite A&A boilerplate denials the problem is quite likely much larger than anybody currently suspects and (possibly, small chance acknowledged) lower impact. I’ll come back to the low impact scenario in a bit.
The story kind of indirectly acknowledges this with the quote about SMC being “The Microsoft of hardware…”; the story also mentions their growth from $1.5B to $3.2B in just 4 years. They didn’t get all that from A&A.
I should acknowledge I have some first hand experience with these folks. I worked closely with SMC including on site in San Jose for several years helping a Fortune 500 technology company transition their domestic manufacturing over to them and their subcontractors. I expect that the story in BB/BW yesterday is causing much heartburn in executive ranks in multiple companies as they all scramble to figure out whether or not their own products may be implicated by their relationships with SMC. There are many shoes about to drop as customers of all kinds decide to open enclosures and take a peek at the boards being used in their products. SMC logos are about to pop out all over.
And the controversy surrounding who or what is actually at risk may swirl around for some time. I myself have a pet theory that I haven’t seen articulated elsewhere so I will give it a stab.
SMC may actually just be suffering from a FUD campaign undertaken by their main microprocessor vendor, Intel. They are a huge (but not highly visible) customer for multiple components, not just processor chips but NVMe and networking cards etc. Intel has had a difficult couple years on multiple fronts; they can’t get their leading edge 10nm process qualified for large scale manufacturing (years behind schedule there) and SMC, seeing flattening x86 volumes and tougher competition among themselves, has dared to start building hardware around alternate processor technologies, e.g. POWER. I doubt this development was well received at Intel HQ.
It’s not impossible for me to imagine Intel getting a story like this out as both a punishment to SMC for straying out of the herd and as an object lesson to other OEMs who might also consider building non x86 based hardware. “Nice systems business you’ve got there it would be a shame if something wrecked it…” Only a theory of course, I have no detailed information regarding any of it other than my experience working with SMC as a vendor and my role was strictly technical in nature…
Sorry JimH meant Jim above not Joe….
Sara Palin can see 2022 from her porch in Wasilla!
I thought she moved to az
So Palin sees Putin in 2020?
Interesting piece on the bbc this morning re: the failure of austerity in the uk over the last decade. Tried to find link but failed it was broadcast on local npr station.
Maybe somebody in the us will examine the question. Maybe.