The stories actually go beyond hacking, but that’s an adequate title for a placeholder post until Adam or Major Major Major Major can weigh in.
There are two stories, one about China and one about Russia’s GRU, their military intelligence agency.
Bloomberg has, for reasons I can’t imagine, gone with a white typeface on black background, which I find painful to read, so I’ll work from the Washington Post’s summary.
Bloomberg has just published an explosive article claiming that a secret unit in the Chinese military has compromised the motherboards (the systems of chips and electronics that allow computers to work) of servers used by Apple, a bank and various government contractors.
China’s exploit was discovered when Amazon did due diligence on a company that it was acquiring, which used servers with the compromised motherboards. Both Apple and Amazon have issued statements denying the Bloomberg claims, but Bloomberg seems confident that it’s correct, saying it has multiple sources inside Amazon and the intelligence community. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
We have long depended on China for essential electronic components. That’s seemed dangerous to me, but nobody listens to me on such things.
Also this morning, Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech at the rightwing Hudson Institute and said that China was the biggest threat to the United States. It’s hard not to see these events as being coordinated. Pence claimed, as did President Donald Trump at the United Nations, that China was trying to hack the US elections. Which probably means that they will call any Democratic wins a Chinese plot. Also, too, when you are making googly eyes at Vladimir Putin, you have to have an enemy to gin up support at home.
Also this morning, the United States, UK, and the Netherlands announced indictments against Russian members of the GRU for hacking a great many agencies, including the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and anti-doping organizations. Russia, of course, denies everything. I am also seeing bits and pieces coming across my Twitter feed from open-source investigators pointing to obvious tells from Russian agents, like using consecutively numbered passports and US $100 bills.
It looks like the GRU has gotten sloppy in their spycraft, or that Russia would like the world to know it operates with impunity.
It is the US that is bringing the indictments. It looks like parts of our government have not signed on to the googly eyes strategy and are continuing to prosecute conspiracies against our country. That’s an interesting development. Its implications for Trump are not clear, although one might think that this investigation has shared information with Robert Mueller’s staff.
Both these stories are developing.