Do the Chinese control the worlds military through Chinese made chips? - FBI now concerned

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Do the Chinese control the worlds military through Chinese made chips? - FBI now concerned

Recent concerns by the FBI over the military using counterfeit Chinese chips means this article takes on new importance. It is intriguing to see if widely disparate events concerning the American military are connected by the threat of Chinese hacking.

I have summarised the main posts of the article but still recommend reading the original on the site, the link is at the end.


It is widely documented that most computer chips supplied for civilian and military use in the United States by corporate giants like AMD, Microsoft, Intel and Motorola are now imported by U.S. manufacturers to suppliers in Japan, Taiwan and China.

Electronic components made to military specifications in Taiwan and Japan are good to go. But U.S. military microchip suppliers have in recent years been “sharing components from a single source manufactured in mainland China for use by the United States military.

China's advanced computer chips run everything from civilian rice cookers to military communications, surveillance, and missile guidance systems.

According to one online industry publication, Chinese circuitry is now used “in the smallest, fastest and most powerful computer chips in world.
(from http://www.willthomasonline...)

So bring on the incidents...

Incident 1
A demonstration of China's newfound capabilities to manipulate microchips came in late February 2007, when Dick Cheney's 757, flying home from Australia was forced to divert to Singapore.

In a story intriguingly tagged, “U.S. Denies Cheney Forced To Land,” Agence France-Presse reported that the White House admitted the Vice-President's Boeing 757 had “suffered electrical problems” before landing in Singapore. [AFP Feb 26/07]

According to U.S. military personnel present on the tarmac at Paya Lebar Air Base, a small Chinese delegation met with Cheney outside his electronically-challenged aircraft.

Wandering in and out of the brief conversation, Hank's sources described the brief encounter, which occurred shortly after 1400 hours Singapore time.

Disembarking Air Force One, Cheney said something like, “Gosh, we got this kind of interesting problem…”

“No, you don't understand sir,” a Chinese official interrupted. “This is how we brought you here. And this is why.”

Cheney's visitors itemized the separately wired galley stoves, reading lights, in-flight video, and power outlets onboard the Vice President's aircraft that had all conked out in flight.

They knew this, they said, because the electronic signals that had disabled the microchips controlling these various devices had been directed by their government.

In an impressive feat, the Chinese military had located and selectively targeted a stealthy aircraft painted with radar-absorbent materials flying at nearly 500 knots at 35,000 feet without a public itinerary.

According to sources, the mostly one-way conversation in Singapore concerned “Gulf of Tonkin possibilities.”

“They reached out and touched someone,” Hank related. “They had a message they wanted to get across: 'You've got ships out there in the Gulf. If this thing cooks off, all bets are off because some of the things that are put out there, we are really now wanting people to talk about.'”

The Chinese were referring to their control of most of the microchips on this planet.

A very thoughtful Dick Cheney departed two hours later.

Incident 2
The next Chinese digital demo came last June. In what came to be called “the most successful cyber attack ever mounted on the U.S. defence department,” Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network serving the defense secretary's personal office.

Like their American counterparts, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) regularly probes U.S. military networks. But American officials said these latest cyber attack caused grave concern when China demonstrated it “could disrupt U.S. defenses systems at critical times.”
... Quote:
The PLA has demonstrated the ability to conduct attacks that disable our system... and the ability in a conflict situation to re-enter and disrupt on a very large scale,
revealed a former official, adding that the PLA has also penetrated the networks of U.S. arms corporations and war-launching think-tanks. [Financial Times Sept 3/07]

Incident 3
The next hack came almost immediately, when Russian computers controlling the International Space Station's orientation and supplies of oxygen and water inexplicably failed while the station's three crewmembers were hosting seven visiting shuttle astronauts.

Among the station's network of six Russian computers, only two remained functioning. A system-wide re-boot usually resolved smaller hitches, But this time, the system was unable to re-boot.

"A failure of this type has not occurred before," the BBC reported. [BBC June 14/07]

... Quote:
This is serious. These computers run their life support, so if they can't be restored, the space station could become uninhabitable.

Statistically, this is not random. There is some new environmental factor that must identified and isolated, and neither step is trivial.
[TechNewsWorld June 14/07] stated James Oberg, a retired rocket scientist turned author and consultant.

Russian flight controllers and onboard engineers traced the problem to "odd readings" in electrical power cables feeding the Russian computers through a corroded junction box labeled BOK 3. [ July 16/07]

The gremlins returned to the Russian machines on February 5, when another ISS computer system crashed in the Zvezda Service Module that routes data between orientation sensors and four positioning gyroscopes. The space station's solar power stopped supplying power, and communications were cut with Earth.

Though power and comms were restored three hours later, New Scientist reports, "The cause of the computer crash remains a mystery. NASA has so far not identified the cause of the crash." [New Scientist Feb 5/02]

They had limited oxygen, a limited time frame. The astronauts onboard the space station didn't know if the next computer malfunction "would open an airlock." But like an airliner in flight, the station should have smoothly shifted over to backup systems.

It didn't.

The word 'redundancy' never got into the story. Instead, all three backup circuit boards wired into three isolated circuits, had to blow out in the same way at the exact same time.

The fault that occurred in the first board, the second board, and the third board all had to be the same damn thing at the same damn time."

"Impossible," he declared. Especially, since each of the simultaneously faulty microchips had been "stress tested to hell and back. Except for internal stressors."

Except for "Made In China" microchip mischief.

While it is not yet confirmed that the February 5 microchip malfunction was related to the June 14 space station hack, on that earlier date the Chinese pulled the equivalent of Cheney's Singapore diversion--in space. "Nobody got busted for it," he adds. "You always hear about the company at fault."

Incident 4
While White House fundamentalists remained mesmerized by the firepower ostensibly under their command, Beijing kept trying to send a very different message.

Their next installment came in early September 2007, when U.S. Air Force officers passed through multiple levels of security and entered the inner computer sanctum of America's Air and Space Command deep under Cheyenne Mountain.

This digital repository stores regularly updates archives needed to execute "clean reinstalls" in case air force computer systems crash or are otherwise compromised.

Entering the quietly humming room, the air force officers were shocked to see monitors aglow with light. The displays were supposed to be off. As they watched in shock and awe, randomly typed letters scrolled across a screen. The words were gibberish. But the message was heart-stoppingly clear: "We Can Play With Your Toys!"

The sender "left breadcrumbs," Hank related. The deliberately attached ISP (Internet Service Provider) pointed to China.

This was bad enough. But what really freaked out the officers was the realization that none of these "stand alone" machines was online. None of them contained a modem!

The only way to access these machines, Hank revealed, is to "use the sneaker net to walk up to it and tap on the keyboard. And yet they were interacting, and they were doing it in real time. They fussed with our stuff. These guys were able to go into what was a stand alone system and take control of it."

How did the PLA hack supposedly secure air force computers lacking network modems?

Just like as select power companies can now pipe the Internet to home computers through electrical power lines, the Chinese were able to play on SAC's supposedly secure computers through the AC power cables connecting them to the national power... "grid".

Incident 5
When it comes to dialing up a bomber to drop nuclear weapons on another country, "It's kind of like hiring a hit man," Hank explained. You meet him in the parking lot with the assignment, a weapon, and cash. Later, you confirm that you haven't changed your mind. Then the mission proceeds, and either the target or the hit man is taken out.

In the case of the mission out of Minot, the First Phase began with an initiation order authorizing weapons release to arm a B-52 specially flown in for this operation. Proper codes and paperwork provided the Pilot in Command with an initial heading to fly, and initial waypoints or nav points to punch into the plane's GPS. No destination was provided. The pilots were just supposed to get in and drive.

They did.

Once the B-52 was airborne, it flew into an electronic black hole. No electromagnetic emissions came from the bomber. There were no radio calls to home base asking, "Are you guys sure you really want to do this?" Even more startling, no coded IFF squawks identified the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fucker) as friendly to prowling post-9/11 fighters. And no transponder beeps identified the airplane and its mission.

This is not the normal procedure for transporting weapons, or flying a B-52 through heavily-trafficked air corridors over the Continental United States. Every aircraft flying at high altitudes over CONUS, (or through Controlled Airspace around airports at lower attitudes) must transmit their identity on an assigned transponder frequency.

Commercial planes squawk in their own dialect.
... Quote:
When you're talking a government vehicle, like a C-130 [military transport], that's another level up.

It's a different kind of squawk. ATC knows how to treat that kind of traffic differently. A B-52 is another level up. Controllers don't see that every day. A C-5 [flying down from Colorado to dust a hurricane, for example]-they really don't see that every day.
Hank noted.

The transponder code of the B-52 out of Minot would have prioritized it to civilian Air Traffic Control, and they would have cleared a corridor for its exclusive track-much like a presidential motorcade.

If this Bad Boy had been transferring six advanced nuclear cruise missiles to Barksdale, as official spin insisted, its transponder would have squawked: "Hey, guess what? We've got nukes onboard! Make sure no one runs into us. And if this signal stops scramble recovery people wearing proper attire."

Or code to that effect.

But this did not happen.
... Quote:
The Situation Room in the White House was not stood up, but they still have people there,? ?One of their jobs is to track nuclear weapons. Somebody in that head shed should have seen a transponder code matched up with nuclear weapons loaded onto that aircraft. That should have been something that went up on the board.

They would have known that a B-52 was getting a full loadout, and that all procedures had been followed. And someone else would have said, 'Mmm, six nukes. We'll keep an eye on it.
Hank continued.

And given an order for radar operators to push a button to highlight that particular blip.

Instead, the blacked-out BUFF flew on.

The crew must have considered the long roster of crashed Stratofortress with ?broken arrows? onboard. Not for a second could they forget that the six live nuclear weapons strapped to their wings were as close to detonation as a gremlin's wet dream.

Or the fail-safe switch under the Plane Commander's gloves.

An hour or two out of Minot, a bell chimed in the cockpit and a secure printer spat out a coded paper message. Even if they betrayed no emotion, the pilots must have felt a chill. Because the mission's next critical Fail-Safe had been passed. "We've thought about it, and the mission is still a go," the message essentially read. If these new orders had not been received, or had been issued incorrectly, the plane would have immediately turned back to the nearest base capable of handling its special needs.

But their orders were in order. Positively authenticated by both pilots as coming from the NCA, the new message received onboard the bomber issued the radio frequencies, call signs and rendezvous coordinates for "hitting" one of three aerial refueling planes constantly orbiting over the Gulf of Mexico. Their new "Go Code" also identified their target region. After topping off their tanks, they were to take up a heading for another Gulf, half a world away.

Wouldn't the base commander, or the other officers involved in sending live nuclear weapons toward Iran have second thoughts about a strike that could trigger an even bigger political-military chain reaction?

Not necessarily, Hank explained. Military leaders usually favor intimidation in place of bloodshed. If the Iranians could be dissuaded from acquiring a nuclear deterrent of their own, or decide to stop supplying their Shiite brothers next door with sophisticated shaped-charge rockets capable of penetrating the depleted uranium hides of M-1 Abrams tanks-terrific!

Everyone involved in the mission must have hoped that in this high-stakes brinksmanship, when Iranian sensors picked up the radioactive signature of an inbound American nuclear bomber strike, the mullahs in Teheran would burn their Korans and turn to Jesus.

On the other hand, how do you say "pissed off" in Persian? The mullahs might panic and start pushing buttons of their own. Especially when the Israeli Air Force was notified of the strike, and launched "supporting" fighter-bombers of their own.

In any case, it was out of the hands of the base commander and his immediate superiors. Since any one of these key staff officers could conceivably be kidnapped or impersonated during a nuclear strike, none had the authority to issue a recall order. Even if someone in the chain of command issued an RTB (Return To Base), SAC bomber crews en route to the final IP coordinates to commence their attack are trained to ignore all such entreaties.

In fact, a frantic "Come home for lunch," or "Call your wife" command would confirm for the crew that something really was amiss, and they were at war.

In this way, a series of rote military assumptions can make an ash out of you and me.

Meanwhile, the man under whose digitally coded authority this strike was being carried out, remained completely unaware that six nuclear cruise missiles with his name on them were headed toward Iran.

Phase Three would have issued coded authorization to take out their assigned targets. One target confirmed by two highly placed, independent sources was a nuclear power plant hard against the mountains of Iran. "But the bomber would still have five missiles left. And it would not leave the area empty," Hank insisted. "If they go loaded for bear, they're not going to leave with a rabbit."

After all, he added, a pre-BDA [Bomb Damage Assessment] would have been done before launching the bomber "to determine how many it would take. And they needed six?"

Despite all the Hollywood hype, cruise missiles are notoriously inaccurate. Just ask the folks ducking strays in Kuwait or Iran. Still, a cruise missile striking within 30 miles would have taken out that Iranian power plant. But if the nuclear-tipped ACM had detonated over its pile?

"Bad. Bad. Very bad," as Hank would say. Because the resulting electromagnetic pulses from such a synergistic chain reaction would have--among other things--fried every unhardened Chinese microchip aboard every American ship, plane and vehicle in the Persian Gulf.

"You don't have to sink the CAG, just turn it off," Hank said, referring to the formidable--yet completely microchip dependent--Carrier Air Group steaming off the coast of Iran. "Once they realized that these ships were just bobbing around out there," the bad guys would have "launched 10,000 rowboats" from surrounding shorelines to go play pirates.

Was this why several Chinese Aegis destroyers were steaming in from the east about 250 nautical miles from the Straits of Hormuz? Was this why two or three Chinese submarines had been deployed to the area of the transiting destroyers the week before?

Or were the two Chinese anti-aircraft destroyers part of an elaborate fail-safe in case the demonstration glitched and the bomber could not be recalled? Even if their anti-aircraft missiles could not reach the distant plane (easily tracked through its rigged Chinese chips), specific signals sent from the ship could have turned the plane around. Or its fuel off.

What were the Chinese thinking?

Ever since Katrina, and the subsequent standing wave put up off the south coast of Africa by HAARP to deflect hurricanes from the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Beijing has felt under siege as earthquakes and wild, shipping-interrupting storms continue to be conducted "all the way to China" by the powerful Gakona, Alaskan transmitter. [See "Where Have All The Hurricanes Gone"-upcoming on]

Three times, the Chinese have attempted to override HAARP. And failed. Elaborate demonstrations of their electronic warfare capabilities--including fizzing circuits in space, and a face-to-face with the U.S. Vice-President in Singapore--had not persuaded American leaders to A: Refrain from hoisting a false flag over a Persian Gulf of Tonkin, and B: Turn HAARP off.

Surely, Beijing must have reasoned, ordering a United State Air Force strategic bomber loaded out with six armed nuclear weapons to fly over the United States and then on towards Iran would conclusively demonstrate who was now in charge.

"This op would not have 'Made In China' stamped all over it," Hank pointed out. "Instead, American bombs, American bombers and American systems were used." No matter how the mission had proceeded, if Washington had been forced to tell the world, "It wasn't us. We lost control of our bomber carrying six atomic warheads"--how would that have looked to a global audience already angry over America's misuse of its military might?

Whatever Beijing's intentions, Hank was not the only person in the U.S. military to have his head rearranged by this latest Chinese demonstration. "They might have wanted to go all the way. Of they might have wanted to put pieces in play and see how far they could go," he surmised. "Maybe the Chinese started, and stopped it."

Either way, the unauthorized Minot mission has bluntly shown the White House and the Pentagon: "If you start something, we can stop it. You no longer know how much control you have over your own weapons systems because we can play with them at will. No matter where you are, no matter what you're doing, if you're using our chips you are vulnerable. And you can't know if our Trojan chips are in your systems unless you tear apart every circuits in every surveillance, communications, weapons system, pipelines, telecom and power grid in your entire military and civilian inventory and look. And then dismantle every network they are connected to."

"And one more thing," Beijing inferred, "If you take offense and pop off a missile, remember, we might make it do a loop-de-loop and come right back down on its originating silo."

Hank and others in America's command hierarchy remain alarmed and puzzled-which makes them even more uneasy. Would China's leadership have precipitated a cloud of radioactive fallout downwind over their own population? Emphatically, yes. The country's generals have long counted an expendable population and land mass as key factors in "winning" a nuclear war.

Best case scenario, this recent flight of fancy was a warning for Washington to chill the bomb Iran rhetoric, and dial down HAARP.

"Maybe the Chinese got it right and they were just messin' with us," Hank mused. "Or they got it wrong, and something very bad almost happened. But why only one plane? Why stop there? It's a limited use of a system that is now exposed."

But what can we do about it?

And what a message it sent!

More on the site

Here is further information regarding the nuclear missile situation and a 'confirmation' of the above article.

By netchicken: posted on 25-11-2007

Update on this topic.

The FBI are concerned that counterfeit products made in China may create security holes where China can control systems without detection.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned of threats to the US military and critical national infrastructure caused by counterfeit Cisco products.

The counterfeit products could open a hardware backdoor into those systems, warned the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), enabling an attacker, potentially undetected by security software, to gain control of the systems. Counterfeit parts also have a much higher failure rate: one is known to have caught fire in a government network, due to a faulty power supply, warned the FBI.

To make matters worse, the FBI has an "intelligence gap": it does not know whether the fake goods are made for private profit or are state-sponsored, nor the scope of counterfeit-equipment use in the US government.

The FBI did warn, however, that there is a threat of IT subversion and supply-chain attack which could cause vital systems to fail, allow access to otherwise secure systems and weaken cryptographic safeguards on government data.

Much more on the topic
By netchicken: posted on 18-5-2008

This presentation by the FBI highlights the concern they hold over compromised hardware of potentially hostile foreign origin within the secure networks of the US government, military, and intelligence services.

Read the powerpoint presentation on the fear of compromised security systems.

The FBI presentation specifically pointed out that it was a Cisco authorized reseller, Atec Group Inc., which sold 30 counterfeit Cisco WAN Interface Cards (WIC) to the Cisco customer MortgageIT.

The FBI presentation stated that the Government's problem is that Cisco Gold/Silver partners are selling counterfeit gear to government and defense contractors.

How can you win when Cisco's official partners are trafficing in counterfeit parts?

fbi-cisco-threat.jpg - 35.4kb
By netchicken: posted on 18-5-2008

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