Sunday, July 03, 2011

U.S. Spies Can't Stop Buying Fake Microchips from China

Adam Clarke Estes writes in The Atlantic Wire:

The U.S. miltary has known for quite some time that they have a quality control problem with the microchips they've been buying in China. A 2005 report from the Defense Science Board warned that in buying weapon circuitry overseas, "trojan horse" chips could find their way into American weapons, potentially prompting missiles to detonate early or computers to shut down in the event of an attack. Then, in 2008, an investigation by BusinessWeek revealed that this was, in fact, happening--fake Chinese microchips were crashing American military networks. In 2010, the military bought 59,000 chips that turned out to be counterfeits. Last week, the government finally announced that they wanted to figure out a way to spot "trojan horse" chips. What took them so long?

Well, for one, China's gotten really good at counterfeiting. The fake Louis Vuitton bags they sell on Canal Street in New York City is one thing, but brand-stamped microchips sold to the U.S. military in the thousands is different in a number of different ways. When BusinessWeek investigated this issue, they found that money and "affirmative-action goals" steered government equipment buyers away from the most trusted manufacturers...

More here.


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