Evidence of Hacked Supermicro Hardware Found in U.S. Telecom

Evidence of Hacked Supermicro Hardware Found in U.S. Telecom

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A major U.S. telecommunications company discovered manipulated hardware from Supermicro in its network and removed it in August, according to Bloomberg.

The security expert, Yossi Appleboum, provided documents, analysis and other evidence of the discovery following the publication of an investigative report in that detailed how China’s intelligence services had ordered subcontractors to plant malicious chips in Supermicro server motherboards over a two-year period.

Unusual communications from a Supermicro server and a subsequent physical inspection revealed an implant built into the server’s Ethernet connector, Appleboum said. His concern is that there are countless points in the supply chain in China where manipulations can be introduced, and deducing them can in many cases be impossible. “That's the problem with the Chinese supply chain,” he said.

Based on his inspection of the device, Appleboum determined that the telecom company's server was modified at the factory where it was manufactured. He said that he was told by Western intelligence contacts that the device was made at a Supermicro subcontractor factory in Guangzhou.

The tampered hardware was found in a facility that had large numbers of Supermicro servers, and the telecommunication company's technicians couldn’t answer what kind of data was pulsing through the infected one, said Appleboum, who accompanied them for a visual inspection of the machine. It's not clear if the telecommunications company contacted the FBI about the discovery.

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