NSA could have planted Permanent Backdoors in Intel And AMD Chips [Updated]
Dec 29 ’13 Update: Not going to say Told You So.
We wrote this article about 5 months back and now with this slide leaked from Edward Snowden to Der Spiegel more or less proves that Intel is in bed with the NSA. Notice how the famous ‘Intel Inside’ logo is twisted to read “TAO Inside” an abbreviation for Tailored Access Operations Inside. We have in our custody the entire PDF file of the leak and will update you if we find anything relevant.
When we are living in the age of Quantum Computers and Brain Implants, it comes as no wonder that there are rumors from highly reliable sources that it is almost guaranteed that NSA is implanting Backdoors in Intel and possibly AMD Chips. And after the recent leak of the PRISM operation by Edward Snowden it grows ever difficult to distinguish between paranoid fantasy and the brutal truth.
Meet Steve Blank one of Silicon Valleys leading experts, and according to Mr Blank he would be ‘extremely surprised’ to find out that the US NSA (National Security Agency) was not implanting backdoors onto Intel and AMD Chips – the worlds leading silicon industry giants.
The reasoning behind all this is very simple. To the NSA Hacking would be preferable to Cracking. For e.g there are some encryptions that not even NSA would be able to crack using conventional methods. The AES 256 bit encryption would require the power of roughly 10 Million Suns to crack on current TDP. So how would a security agency like NSA get the information? Obviously not using the conventional channel. Pay a fortune to make a Genius find a Zero-Day in the encryption? Maybe. The most practical course of action would be to simply get the information before or after encryption/decryption, and that is exactly what Mr Blank is claiming the NSA does.
Mr Blank began work as an NSA Contractor at the Pine Gap facility and when he recently heard that the NSA had gained access to Microsoft emails in the Pre-Encryption state, he realized that there was another way NSA could gain access, which was basically lying there to utilize.
Now meet Mr Jonathan Brossard a leading Security Research Engineer and someone who demonstrated proof of concept that the IBM PC architecture has legacy issues at last years Black Hat conference. Mr Brossard however does not agree with the aforestated conclusion. Saying in an email to me : ”As far as cpu microcode is concerned : this is a _feature_ that is_documented_ and well understood. The mechanism relys on very strong cryptography to ensure no hostile microcode can be updated. There is absolutely no reason to believe this is being misused by NSA or whoever. ”
So it would seem unless the cryptography of the microcode is broken it would be implausible that such a backdoor exists. Guess it has been broken.
Intel, AMD Backdoor by NSA at the Postdistribution Level
There have been rumors (infinitely less authentic)hat NSA can use Microsoft Updates to update the CPU Microcode. It is possible that the NSA could utilize this as a pathway to update or expand any hypothetically planted backdoor.
Theres one thing i have to admit, if this is true then this is pure genius by the NSA. An extremely efficient and nigh undetectable way to gain intelligence on just about anybody, and lets admit it who doesn’t use PCs anymore?
Apparently in response peeps over at the Russias Federal Guard Service are switching to electrical type writers and Australian secret services are blocking companies such as Lenovo inside their infrastructure.
It is only fair to add that Intel denies all this speculation.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not presented as a fact but as an opinion. It is up to the reader to decided what is fact and what is fable.
— Usman Pirzada (@usmanpirzada) December 29, 2013