Oct 03 2008
While in Beijing, I went to the Silk Market and decided to purchase one of the many “Rolex” watches on sale. The girl sitting behind the stall told me that for the low, low price of US $10 she would reluctantly part with this prize possession. Finally, weeping and wailing, she let it go for three bucks and cursed me and all my descendants. The next day the watch made a weird noise, began to heat up and made a small burn mark on the top of my wrist. True story… well, there is at least a place called Beijing in China.
For our next story, let’s replace me with Department of Defense and Rolex with microchips. What could possibly go wrong?
The American military faces a growing threat of potentially fatal equipment failure—and even foreign espionage—because of counterfeit computer components used in warplanes, ships, and communication networks. Fake microchips flow from unruly bazaars in rural China to dubious kitchen-table brokers in the U.S. and into complex weapons. Senior Pentagon officials publicly play down the danger, but government documents, as well as interviews with insiders, suggest possible connections between phony parts and breakdowns.
Counterfeit routers may pose an even greater danger:
Referring to the seizure of more than 400 fake routers so far, Melissa E. Hathaway, head of cyber security in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, says: “Counterfeit products have been linked to the crash of mission-critical networks, and may also contain hidden ‘back doors’ enabling network security to be bypassed and sensitive data accessed [by hackers, thieves, and spies].”
Business Week lays out the who, what, when, where and why …defective Chinese computer components finding their way into US warplanes and ships.