UK researchers discover backdoor in American military chip – Nextgov

U.K.-based security researchers have found a backdoor that was “deliberately” inserted into an American military chip to help attackers gain unauthorized access and reprogram its memory, according to a draft research paper. …

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2 thoughts on “UK researchers discover backdoor in American military chip – Nextgov

  1. Today, colleagues referred me to another article from a different publisher reporting this to be “Proof That Military Chips From China Are Infected“.

    The following comment was provided to me by one of the researchers associated with this study:

    “We do not agree that the Chinese are involved in the backdoor in Actels flash line of FPGA and have said so publicly and on the website. Others are not convinced and speculate that it must be China because no US manufacturer would either by design or by negligence have done such a thing. We also make it clear in the paper it is Actel or one of Actels subcontractors who have put the backdoor there. Perhaps it was left there by design to gain access at a later date, or by mistake, or that the designers never tested the backdoor to exploit it the way we have.”

    The researcher tells me that they are working on a technique, principally used by bad guys to crack a chip’s security, to detect compare authentic versus non-authentic chips. If they can get some funding, this seems to me like it would be an effective authenticity verification testing approach for complex devices.

  2. Microsemi Response: Security Claims With Respect to ProASIC3 (May 31, 2012)

    Researchers’ response: Microsemi: Security claims with respect to ProASIC3 May 31, 2012

    “Microsemi Denies Existence of Backdoor in Its Chips, Researchers Disagree”
    By Lucian Constantin, IDG-News-Service:Romania-Bureau, 1 Jun 2012

    “Semiconductor company Microsemi has issued a statement denying that one of its products, a popular silicon chip called ProASIC3, has a backdoor built into it.” more

    “Microsemi rebuts silicon backdoor claim”
    By Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor, The Register, 1st June 2012 06:46 GMT

    “Microsemi, manufacturer of the ProASIC3 field-programmable gate array (FPGA) that researchers Sergei Skorobogatov and Christopher Woods claim has a highly hackable backdoor, has issued a statement (PDF) about the attack” more

    “Microsemi denies researcher claims of existence of backdoor in its chips” | Security – InfoWorld JUNE 01, 2012

    “Semiconductor company Microsemi has issued a statement denying that one of its products, a popular silicon chip called ProASIC3, has a backdoor built into it. more

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