THE CHALLENGE

Chinese spies successfully inserted secret microchips into motherboards purchased by major U.S. companies – creating backdoor hacker access that enables external control of systems. According to Bloomberg’s Businessweek, specialized servers purchased by large US companies and others manufactured in China were reportedly at issue; systems built for the U.S. military have reportedly been affected as well.

Many parties involved have been less than forthcoming and deny the incident ever happened. And some find it hard to believe the technical leaders in the US compute market could have initially missed something like this in their quality assurance process. However, other experts are convinced by Bloomberg’s reporting and the nature of the attack.

THE PROJECT

  • xTECH360 was engaged to perform hardware, bios, and firmware analysis of large server environment to isolate the known vulnerability of transplanted microchip and the associated risk
  • xTECH360 deployed tactical remediation teams to perform full hardware inventory to identify which servers contained the microchip vulnerability
  • xTECH360 obtained and implemented bios updates to neutralize intrusion ability provided by the microchip vulnerability
  • Present reactive plan and results used for identifying and remediating vulnerability as repeatable plan that can be used as a proactive measure to mitigate future vulnerabilities and risk

THE RESULTS

  • Select servers were identified as containing the implanted microchip and being vulnerable to remote access compromise
  • ixTECH Tactical Remediation developed categorical approach to remediating the microchip vulnerability via bios updates, firmware upgrades, and motherboard/component replacement
  • xTECH360 worked with the client to customize a proactive process for ongoing and future pre-boot OS vulnerabilities

Vulnerability-Risk Assessment and Remediation : For more information...

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