Cambridge Researchers Find Backdoor in Chinese Chips

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Cambridge University researchers recently determined that a chip used by the U.S. military contains a backdoor which could enable the manufacturer to disable or reprogram the chip.

"The chip is used in many systems including weapons, nuclear power plants and public transport," writes HEXUS.net's Mark Tyson.

"The discovery has inevitably led to concerns over whether [manufacturer] Microsemi/Actel included the backdoor to give the Chinese control of U.S. military information infrastructure," writes Techworld's Sophie Curtis. "The report states that the discovery of a backdoor in a military-grade chip raises serious questions about hardware assurance in the semiconductor industry."

"The news comes at a time when Chinese cyber-spying threats are a particular concern," notes TNW's Jon Russell. "Chinese telecom manufacturers ZTE and Huawei are already under investigation from the US government, which is assessing whether the duo’s telecom businesses pose a national security threat."

"The saving grace of this alleged hack? It requires a saboteur to physically connect equipment to the chip and its system to initiate a reprogamming cycle," writes TG Daily's Shane McGlaun. "Although military and civilian infrastructure are often under heavy guard, a determined operative could likely breach security and access the chip in certain locations -- threatening mass transit systems and nuclear power plants."

"Microsemi has yet to respond to the report's findings," PC Pro reports.