Author Topic: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.  (Read 36062 times)

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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #250 on: October 09, 2018, 11:22:50 am »
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4995755-Apple-Bloomberg-Congressional-Letter.html
This is an "Is true!" and "Nu-uh!" on international level. Did Bloomberg ever follow up on their initial claims?
 

Online bd139

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #251 on: October 09, 2018, 11:27:36 am »
No they posted an opinion piece then slithered off.
 
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Offline technix

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #252 on: October 09, 2018, 11:57:45 am »
Why do I sense some smear happening on that opinion piece? Too bad the sources are obscured, otherwise a deeper research can reveal some peculiarities and interesting tidbits.
 

Online bd139

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #253 on: October 09, 2018, 12:00:12 pm »
The sources aren't as obscured as they hoped.

https://risky.biz/RB517_feature/
 

Offline coppercone2

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #254 on: October 09, 2018, 12:01:17 pm »
I honestly don't know about the minimum size, but a procedure might be when accepting this shit into high security facilities to download and checksum all the firmwares before use with code the company provided.

The chip might have a reciever or some other trick circuit in it to use the SPI line as a antenna, so a van drives around and activates it after its installed. It's really small though. I don't know if you could some how highjack the memory of another non-essential component on the PCB to act as a memory for the parasite chip or something like that (how would you tap into the CS line?).. it could passively turn on every once in a while to listen for some kind of radio signal to trigger it. I don't know how you would get a long time delay in a chip like that without some kind of external trigger, you can't put a big RC in there or something because its tiny.

The reasoning being that motherboards have a ton of crap thats often not used (audio driver on a server motherboard) that is possibly connected to the same SPI chain, so you could then download the memory from the chip being flashed, write it into another chip that acts as a data storage.. but how? The idea being kind of like the bus driver in the mafia mystery murder games.

Does anyone have a block diagram of the motherboards driver chain IC's etc?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 12:05:51 pm by coppercone2 »
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #255 on: October 09, 2018, 12:03:32 pm »
I've just read the Apple letter to the congressional Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (bd139 has the link above).

I've read a lot of "non-denial denials" over the years, and I think I know how to spot one now. The Apple letter has none of the characteristics of a "non-denial denial", it lacks the over-specific denials, weasel words or tone that characterises them. It sounds like a honest denial that should be taken at face value.

Although this whole issue is still in a fog, it's increasingly looking like the Bloomberg story is a pile of steaming manure.

Bloomberg have a reputation to maintain - ultimately in the serious news business it's all you have. So it is not in Bloomberg's interests to create a 9 days wonder story in the way a piece-of-arsewipe tabloid might to sell a few extra copies - "Major IT Suppliers Compromised by Spies" is not "Kim Kardashian's Cosmetic Surgeon Says Left Buttock is Fake". You can bet that with a story of this significance and apparent long research time, that layers of Bloomberg's management and lawyers would have been over the story before it got the green light to publish. So I think we can discount that Bloomberg deliberately created a fake story out of thin air.

So if we accept Apple's denials and (tentatively?) those of the other named parties and discount the possibility that Bloomberg deliberately fabricated this, that just leaves malicious action on the part of a third party in planting the story with Bloomberg. Claims that some shadowy US government department or the US political apparatus ordered Bloomberg to publish this are not credible. Bloomberg has both good enough lawyers and enough ability to expose such a thing publicly by publishing, that it would be both legally and politically unthinkable. That just leaves an organisation with enough manpower and experience to run an operation designed to get Bloomberg to believe the story - which surely means the intelligence/espionage apparatus of some state level actor or similar. If we accept that, the next question has to be the old one, cui bono, who benefits?

Answering that question takes us down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theory. Not the Chinese, obviously. The French? I wouldn't put it past them, just for spite. The British? No real benefit to them. The "deep state" or someone trying to implicate the "deep state"? The illuminati? The tri-lateral commission? Scientology? Like I said, rabbit hole.

Realistic answers might include: Russia - detracts from the various investigations into their interference into US politics, plus they hate China. Domestic political groups - stir up righteous patriotic fervour with mid-terms coming (against: maybe rather too competent an operation for political rabble rousing). Israel - again, mid-terms, electing right wing pro-israeli candidates might make a little sense but not very much, but the Israelis have demonstrated in the past that they are prepared to do stupidly destructive things to gain a little advantage for themselves so it's not completely beyond reason. Any other sensibly plausible actors?

Edited to add: I'm dismissing straight cock-up theory because of the huge number of sources and the layers of approval that (at least in theory) this ought to have gone through at Bloomberg. If I'm wrong, then the level of journalistic competence shown is less than I could manage if I was simultaneously the most drunk I have ever been, with both hands tied behind my back, with an eyepatch on and just after someone's shot me in the left leg.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 12:26:38 pm by Cerebus »
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Offline coppercone2

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #256 on: October 09, 2018, 12:11:04 pm »
i would like to see block diagrams of the circuits proposed for some kind of time delay code injection and schematics of the mother board, that way a spec for the spy chip could be developed to see if its feasible from a integration standpoint based on the routing and feasible based on die size etc to see what technologies would need to be used

also it can be some kind of simple impedance chip designed to severely fuck with the EMI performance of the device, act as a mixer, cause a severe reflection or otherwise change the PCB to make it more susceptible to a TEMPEST attack, like most NSA bugs. Maybe it can disclose a encryption key from far away some how or lower the PCB suceptance.

I
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 12:14:56 pm by coppercone2 »
 

Offline mnementh

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #257 on: October 09, 2018, 12:19:35 pm »
The best "opinions" I've seen on this so far (from multiple sources) boil down to:

"I'd be surprised if this weren't happening by now."

"They pwned the hardware side ages ago. Why eff around with someone else's software?"

"Don't try to teach your grandmother how to cook cabbage."

"They couldn't find their arse with both hands and a seeing eye dog."

"Trust noone."

mnem
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Online BrianHG

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #258 on: October 09, 2018, 01:27:22 pm »
To me, this boils down to (ad don't forget we are talking about today's connected world)
1: The time and expense to affect only a bunch of networked servers, only a few of which might be use in the right place to get at what you want.
2: Spend money to develop an all software Zero Day back door hack which works online and get access to any online connected hardware you might want access to, not limited to specifically sold hardware installed at random location out of your control.

Now, with the Chinese government behind all of this, and their resources, 'today', will they bother with #1, or #2.
__________
BrianHG.
 

Online madires

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #259 on: October 09, 2018, 01:33:35 pm »
The chip might have a reciever or some other trick circuit in it to use the SPI line as a antenna, so a van drives around and activates it after its installed. It's really small though.

The mainboard is in a metal box called server. Multiple servers are in a metal rack (some might have a glass door) and there are tons of racks in a data center. Not very RF friendly.

The current idea of the spy chip modifying the linux firmware (stored in a flash chip) for the BMC on the fly is not very convincing. It would be easier to modify the firmware directly. A firmware update would render both methods useless and no sane network design would allow the management port to access the Internet. A spy chip would leave physical evidence of tampering behind. I'd be more concerned about Meltdown, Spectre and Foreshadow.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 02:01:11 pm by madires »
 

Online BravoV

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #260 on: October 09, 2018, 01:40:09 pm »
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4995755-Apple-Bloomberg-Congressional-Letter.html

Really curious what will happened to Amazon, when it comes to it's turn to face Congress on this matter.  >:D

Offline coppercone2

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #261 on: October 09, 2018, 01:49:43 pm »
The chip might have a reciever or some other trick circuit in it to use the SPI line as a antenna, so a van drives around and activates it after its installed. It's really small though.

The mainboard is in a metal box called server. Multiple servers are in a metal rack (some might have a glass door) and there are tons of racks are in a data center. Not very RF friendly.

The current idea of the spy chip modifying the linux firmware (stored in a flash chip) for the BMC on the fly is not very convincing. It would be easier to modify the firmware directly. A firmware update would render both methods useless and no sane network design would allow the management port to access the Internet. A spy chip would leave physical evidence of tampering behind. I'd be more concerned about Meltdown, Spectre and Foreshadow.

How do you know the whole thing wont be susceptible if someone hits the building with a multi kilowatt burst of RF at close range from a directional antenna in a van? Or even have someone on foot do it with a special pack.. its not THAT hard to break into unsecured areas of a data center, I heard ridiculous stories from old penetration testers doing the darnest things to get inside a building. They can probobly get into the same hallway as the main access door with medium effort... getting into the room might be hard though.

It sounds ridiculous but someone can make billions of dollars doing this kind of shit.. technologies that seem absurd are cheap and economical to these people.

I notice that people in this thread have this idea that the attack needs to be considered a 'long term investment'. It could just be a heist.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 01:55:42 pm by coppercone2 »
 

Online bd139

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #262 on: October 09, 2018, 01:55:29 pm »
LOL you've never been in a DC have you?

Even the shit ones have better security than the best MoD sites I've been on.
 
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Offline coppercone2

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #263 on: October 09, 2018, 01:56:39 pm »
LOL you've never been in a DC have you?

Even the shit ones have better security than the best MoD sites I've been on.

I worked near a high security area. Secured for reasons unknown and theories many. (I heard it was something like Die Hard 4 but I also heard a few other strange theories about it).  I also heard it was armed to the teeth with all sorts of military weapons.

Also keep in mind TEMPEST guidelines are mainly prevent emissions of secure information, not one way signals to trigger a sensitive circuit.. but for re-radiaton I think the installation would need to be other wise compromised by bad technicians or design.
So long you don't show up there at night it was actually pretty tame. At night they would investigate EVERYTHING. Unmarked cars too. Was basically told if I went in front of the building at night I might end up with problems.

During a day you could get close though. Also they did not have provisions as far as I know for weird shit like drones, people on some kind of flying vehicles (big quad etc) or other absurd ideas.

Even a military base will only inspect some % of incoming cars because of time delays. Unless its under lock down.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 02:07:07 pm by coppercone2 »
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #264 on: October 09, 2018, 03:41:39 pm »
Realistic answers might include: Russia - detracts from the various investigations into their interference into US politics, plus they hate China. Domestic political groups - stir up righteous patriotic fervour with mid-terms coming (against: maybe rather too competent an operation for political rabble rousing). Israel - again, mid-terms, electing right wing pro-israeli candidates might make a little sense but not very much, but the Israelis have demonstrated in the past that they are prepared to do stupidly destructive things to gain a little advantage for themselves so it's not completely beyond reason. Any other sensibly plausible actors?

Any other plausible actors?  Duh - yes - the USA/Western corporate/ MIC/"deep state" which has a decided motive - that is to drum up support for a new cold war with China. For anyone paying attention to the non-tech geopolitical world it is obvious that this is going down. Mike Pence the Vice F'ing President of the USA just gave a speech that basically said as much.   I was just a week ago  (before this story broke) listening to an interview with a Hong Kong based (American) well regarded macroeconomic  guru who pointed out that there is a concerted effort to question the China based supply chain.

Please don't try to tie this in to the anti - Russia hysteria.  I'm surprised to see that so many here have been duped into believing the mainstream media narrative about Russia (and no, there has been no actual evidence presented of their "hacking" the US election - just accusations, allegations, and indictments (another form of allegations) - with no public available evidence - just intelligence agency claims and Robert "Iraq has WMDs" Muellers assertions).

Again - the CIA has a long history of employing operatives in major media outlets to create a narrative and further a political agenda. This is not tin foil hat stuff, but well documented historical fact.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 03:46:14 pm by mtdoc »
 

Online bd139

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #265 on: October 09, 2018, 04:21:15 pm »
No just the caught red handed murder of British citizens and the massive moderation battles against Russian troll farms on Reddit and mainstream media sites etc (yes that is actually happening because the moment they hellban Russian netblocks it goes DEAD). But this is not an us and them thing. Everyone is universally being a dick by trying to make the other person look like a dick. This is covering up for being a little tiny irritating dick and trying to avoid pissing off the dicks that live in the country. And some people are being really big dicks. Massive dicks. Massive orange dicks. So much so that it ends in a dick waving contest. Lots of dicks. That's it.

Geopolitics isn't really anything to do with this thread though.

Neither is dicks.
 
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Offline mtdoc

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #266 on: October 09, 2018, 04:29:25 pm »
Massive dicks. Massive orange dicks. So much so that it ends in a dick waving contest. Lots of dicks. That's it.

Geopolitics isn't really anything to do with this thread though.

Neither is dicks.

LOL, yes lots of dicks on the world geopolitical stage.  Perhaps figuratively large ones but literally.....(My hands are not small!). 

In any case, I would argue that it has everything to do with geopolitics, corporate power, money and the integrity of the current supply chain.
 

Online bd139

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #267 on: October 09, 2018, 04:32:50 pm »
Citation for my last comment for reference. Someone had enough of their shit: https://themoscowtimes.com/news/infamous-st-petersburg-troll-farm-set-on-fire-63130

Massive dicks. Massive orange dicks. So much so that it ends in a dick waving contest. Lots of dicks. That's it.

Geopolitics isn't really anything to do with this thread though.

Neither is dicks.

LOL, yes lots of dicks on the world geopolitical stage.  Perhaps figuratively large ones but literally.....(My hands are not small!). 

In any case, I would argue that it has everything to do with geopolitics, corporate power, money and the integrity of the current supply chain.

I think we should start with credibility. If it turns into geopolitics once we've established credibility then fine. But we haven't established credibility. There is one source and the source has been figuratively kicked in the face repeatedly over the last few days because they are silent on it and have put forward no sources. Even self-proclaimed sources said they got it wrong and extrapolated.

So probability and credibility before blame.
 

Offline mnementh

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #268 on: October 09, 2018, 05:02:49 pm »
Credibility is simple: China is where they make ALL our shit. A factory there SOMEWHERE is not only the likeliest vector for such a broad-based attack, it is by far the only sensible vector.

It is not a question of IF... it is a question of WHEN this or something functionally equivalent will happen.

Most of the players involved have a long history of diversionary tactics; it is not beyond any of them to deliberately set this entire scenario in motion to either distract from, or to desensitize the public in preparation for the inevitable public discovery of a known similar threat.

This "outrage after outrage" sensory bludgeoning tactic is how in just a few short decades we went from being a semi-civilized nation as depicted in The West Wing to real-life Idiocracy with spam-sucking trailer trash in the White House leading the nation down the road to Nuclear War and all you ever hear about is the lowest 10% cheering him on.  :palm:

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Offline mtdoc

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #269 on: October 09, 2018, 05:05:38 pm »
Citation for my last comment for reference. Someone had enough of their shit: https://themoscowtimes.com/news/infamous-st-petersburg-troll-farm-set-on-fire-63130

No argument that troll farms exist. USA intelligent agencies have their own as well. Countries efforts to influence other countries populaces opinions is an age old tradition. Before the internet it was the "voice of America" and foreign equivalents, before radio it was solely via print media.

But troll farms are a much different than the allegations and Russia hysteria claims that have been repeated ad nauseam in the US media since the 2016 election.  Too many in this country seem psychologically unwilling to look at the internal issues that gave us our orange idiot in chief and are quick to buy convenient blame on "outsiders"  Ah, such is  human nature I suppose.

Quote
I think we should start with credibility. If it turns into geopolitics once we've established credibility then fine. But we haven't established credibility. There is one source and the source has been figuratively kicked in the face repeatedly over the last few days because they are silent on it and have put forward no sources. Even self-proclaimed sources said they got it wrong and extrapolated.

So probability and credibility before blame.

I agree. Credibility is key.  It seems to me as a non-expert electronics hobbyist, that if this hardware hack exists, providing physical evidence for evaluation by neutral 3rd parties should not be hard. If no such hardware is forthcoming, the lack of credibility will be confirmed.
 

Offline TimNJ

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #270 on: October 09, 2018, 05:42:15 pm »
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-09/new-evidence-of-hacked-supermicro-hardware-found-in-u-s-telecom

I dunno still sounds like "We heard from someone, somewhere, that something happened."
 
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Online bd139

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #271 on: October 09, 2018, 05:46:10 pm »
Yep. Shit or get off the pot.

I want to see evidence and analysis published.

Also I have never once heard of Yossi Appleboum or CyberSeal and I'm mostly in that sector.
 
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Online bd139

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #272 on: October 09, 2018, 05:50:25 pm »
Interesting picture posted elsewhere...

 
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #273 on: October 09, 2018, 05:56:35 pm »
Interesting picture posted elsewhere...


One problem with the story seems to be that many people don't seem to understand what is actually possible. Even many people here, and that this was possible years ago now.

All without saying this story actually checks out.
 

Online bd139

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Re: Chinese manufacturer puts hardware backdoor onto Supermicro server boards.
« Reply #274 on: October 09, 2018, 05:59:27 pm »
It's possible but unlikely which is the thing. Look at the unit cost of that implant for the NSA. There's an Aspeed SoC on the server boards with an ARM core. Why the hell not just go for the firmware for that? Perhaps that is what happened and Bloomberg are just dumbasses (likey as the reporting is terrible so far).

There's just no logic in any of this.
 


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