The stuff of spy movies

Supermicro has become infamous overnight following an expose by Bloomberg quoting unnamed sources. According to the report, “the attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 US companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain.”

Amazon and Apple have issued statements denying knowledge of the malicious chip.

It’s the stuff that spy movies are made of. And the reality is that it’s a well-known fact that intelligence agencies around the world have leveraged technology to gather intelligence on other countries. Other than developing the technology themselves, which is possible but demands a wealth of resources, they have to get it from somewhere. And what better place than Silicon Valley, the world’s technology headquarters and design centre.

If this is an open secret, then why the big hullabaloo over this alleged insertion of a tiny chip into the servers? Surely, there must have been many more such infringements that have not been publicly reported.

Or is this because of the escalating trade spat between the US and China?

Will this lead to tit for tat revelations of even more secrets from both sides?

Whatever the intention, the story will certainly generate loads of traffic to Bloomberg. As a result, US-headquartered Supermicro has also garnered lots of coverage and unfortunately, unwanted publicity.

Many around the world now know that the company produces blades, networking devices, servers, and storage used by renowned companies.

Following the news, Supermicro has paid a massive price with stock prices plunging by a reported 50 percent overnight.

It’s a warning to technology companies to be more careful about their supply chain, partners and customers. Of course, that’s easier said than done because their products can be bought through a plethora of methods.

This case could be just the tip of the iceberg if more so-called investigative reporting uncovers more exploits of technology to gain an upperhand in the intelligence game. It’s a movie-makers dream with more storylines to play with.

 

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