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Security backdoor found in China-made US military chip
Information Age ^ | May 28, 2012 | staff

Posted on 05/28/2012 7:52:40 PM PDT by Pelham

Cambridge University researchers find that a microprocessor used by the US military but made in China contains secret remote access capability

A microchip used by the US military and manufactured in China contains a secret "backdoor" that means it can be shut off or reprogrammed without the user knowing, according to researchers at Cambridge University's Computing Laboratory.

The unnamed chip, which the researchers claim is widely used in military and industrial applications, is "wide open to intellectual property theft, fraud and reverse engineering of the design to allow the introduction of a backdoor or Trojan", they said.

The discovery was made during testing of a new technique to extract the encryption key from chips, developed by Cambridge spin-off Quo Vadis Labs.

The "bug" is in the actual chip itself, rather than the firmware installed on the devices that use it. This means there is no way to fix it than to replace the chip altogether.

"The discovery of a backdoor in a military grade chip raises some serious questions about hardware assurance in the semiconductor industry," wrote Cambridge University researcher Sergei Skorobogatov and Quo Vadis Labs research Christopher Woods in a draft paper.

"It also raises some searching questions about the integrity of manufacturers making claims about [the] security of their products without independent testing."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet; Conspiracy; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: china; computerchip; military; threatmatrix; trojan
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1 posted on 05/28/2012 7:52:52 PM PDT by Pelham
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To: Pelham

“A microchip used by the US military and manufactured in China “

Gee, what could go wrong?


2 posted on 05/28/2012 7:55:53 PM PDT by nuconvert ( Khomeini promised change too // Hail, Chairman O)
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To: nuconvert

The benefits of globalism.


3 posted on 05/28/2012 7:57:33 PM PDT by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: Pelham

HUAWEI Don’t trust ANYTHING with HUAWEI chips in it!

CTV News | Australia bans Huawei from Web networkwww.ctv.ca/generic/generated/static/business/article2381651.htmlYou +1’d this publicly. Undo
Australia has banned Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies Ltd. from bidding to ... to expand in the United States might aid Chinese electronic spying.


4 posted on 05/28/2012 7:59:29 PM PDT by WellyP (REAL)
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To: Pelham

No kidding...that’s such a surprise. The Chinese using an OPEN opportunity to spy on us. Who could have seen that coming?

This administration has the intelligence of an amoeba. That’s ONE amoeba.


5 posted on 05/28/2012 7:59:47 PM PDT by madison10 (The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. TJ)
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To: Pelham

Kinda like what happens in this book http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005G4PUAK/ref=docs-os-doi_0

“At exactly midnight on December 31, every electronic device made in China for the last 30 years stops working.

From the U.S. electrical grid and all its back-ups, engine control-management systems, early warning systems on U.S. satellites, every motor vehicle, aircraft and ship made after 1985, to even simple memory chips inside children’s teddy bears—every electronic fuse, resistor, or connector that was “Made in China” becomes dormant… forever.

At one minute past midnight on January 1st, every modern television broadcast of the U.S. New Year’s Eve festivities on the East Coast black-out. Millions of motor vehicles with an engine management system or engine-computerized system suddenly die, causing loss of control and thousands of accidents only seconds into the New Year. Traffic lights, directional beacons, communication stations, and all aircraft landing systems black out a couple of minutes later, as their modern back-ups start failing. Children’s Christmas presents, nearly forgotten, stop buzzing, moving, and blinking and go silent. Radios, computers, and all forms of electronic communication devices—even the latest 132 million electronic Christmas presents given only a week earlier (iPhone 5Gs, IPod Nano 4s, IMac Notepads and iPad 3s) go silent, never to blink on again. Ninety seconds after midnight, the entire electrical grid of North America deactivates itself and goes into close-down mode.

The shutdown of the United States of America, and 97% of the entire world, is accomplished by 12:30 am U.S. Eastern time on the first day of the New Year.”


6 posted on 05/28/2012 7:59:55 PM PDT by The Chief (Newt 2012!)
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To: Pelham
"The unnamed chip, which the researchers claim is widely used in military and industrial applications..."

Uh, we could use some serious transparency here.

7 posted on 05/28/2012 8:00:03 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

Top of the list is HUAWEI!


8 posted on 05/28/2012 8:05:25 PM PDT by WellyP (REAL)
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To: Pelham; a fool in paradise; Slings and Arrows
The chips being the size that they are that door must have been real tiny. I know that Chinamen are kinda short but Hu could fit through?


9 posted on 05/28/2012 8:07:11 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Pelham

Nothing effective will be done. China will be allowed to get away with most anything and not only because they buy our government’s debt. It’s the inherent stupidity and utopian nonsense associated with globalism that has short-circuited the brains of all too many Westerners. Little short of a mass launching of ICBMs by China would open the eyes of most of them. And that wouldn’t open the eyes of all of them.


10 posted on 05/28/2012 8:07:11 PM PDT by Will88
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To: Pelham
Apropos computer chips.


11 posted on 05/28/2012 8:08:27 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Pelham; Sirius Lee; lilycicero; MaryLou1; glock rocks; JPG; Monkey Face; RIghtwardHo; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.


12 posted on 05/28/2012 8:08:27 PM PDT by narses
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To: Pelham
Must have been the same moron that said, “We'll let the Soviets build our new embassy building, then clean it out when their done because it'll save money in the long run...”.

Must of been some of them there chips in that there drone that landed on an Iranian airfield.

Leon Pinetta must have a heck of a lot of money stored away in Swiss, er, Chinese, er American sold to the Chinese, bank accounts.

Seriously, anybody who does not believe we are so screwed when China and Russia decide it's time to take our rescources, raise their hand...or text with their Iphone...

13 posted on 05/28/2012 8:13:42 PM PDT by Dogbert41 ("...The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God" Zech. 12:5)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; ...

Thanks Pelham.


14 posted on 05/28/2012 8:15:05 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Will88

“China will be allowed to get away with most anything....”

.
Same policy that we use with Islam.

America just loooooooves its enemies.


15 posted on 05/28/2012 8:20:02 PM PDT by 353FMG
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To: narses

I wish we knew what kind of chip it was. If it was a microprocessor, all modern high-complexity chips have “microcode” - basically, a cpu within a cpu - that allow instructions that are supposed to be executed in hardware (transistors, logic gates, etc) with a patch of instructions. Both AMD and Intel have routinely patched their chips with BIOS upgrades that first load any microcode revisions before starting up. It wouldn’t take much of a stretch to design “poisoned” microcode.

On the other hand, there was an illegal instruction (an unimplemented op code) on the Motorola 6800 that put the bus in an illegal state and locked the chip up so that it needed a power-on or hard reset - the infamous HCF (Halt and Catch Fire) instruction.


16 posted on 05/28/2012 8:24:19 PM PDT by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: madison10
Surprised? Not at all. I'd have been surprised if someone did a survey of chips/equipment made in China and found that none of them had "extra features."

Chips and systems are incredibly complex, and the means of extracting information from them so subtle it is insanity to use a potential adversary as a source.

17 posted on 05/28/2012 8:24:35 PM PDT by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: Pelham

The Nazi’s tried slave labor during WW II and hte results were not good for them.

For the US to allow anyone outside of America to make critical military equipment is either deliberate treaon or terminal stupidity.

My suggestion: Defund welfare for urban sluts, urban feralsa, ad nauseam. Spend the encessary money to keep our military #1 - that means making the weapons here and without any foreigners in the factories or the entire supply train.

Wanna bet the Muslims and Messicans are already planning and stealing weapons, and worse?

Wanna bet your children’s freedom?


18 posted on 05/28/2012 8:30:55 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is necessary to examine principles."...the public interest)
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To: The Chief; Ezekiel
“At exactly midnight on December 31, every electronic device made in China for the last 30 years stops working.

Jeremiah 51

36 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:

“See, I will defend your cause and avenge you; I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry. 37 Babylon will be a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, an object of horror and scorn, a place where no one lives. 38 Her people all roar like young lions, they growl like lion cubs.

39 But while they are aroused, I will set out a feast for them and make them drunk, so that they shout with laughter— then sleep forever and not awake,” declares the Lord.

40 “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats.

***

I'd wait till 4/5 AM...Tick tock...

19 posted on 05/28/2012 8:31:26 PM PDT by Jeremiah Jr (Chi ha-Olamim)
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To: Pelham; nuconvert
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_PLjNWOu-Zn0/ScpgE7diU0I/AAAAAAAAAd4/MR8l5f9sDtY/s400/shocked+to+find+gaming.jpg

Shocked I tell you!

20 posted on 05/28/2012 8:33:30 PM PDT by KC_Lion (I am finished with listening to empty promises of the great GOP saving me in 4 more years.)
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To: Pelham

Huh, well that’s weird! Why would China ever want to steal our military technology? DOH

How long seriously have we been purchasing military technology from China? Where is a rocket scientist when you need one!


21 posted on 05/28/2012 8:40:43 PM PDT by jcsjcm (This country was built on exceptionalism and individualism. In God we Trust - Laus Deo)
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To: Pelham

I will hold my outrage until this backdoor is verified by a 3rd party who isn’t trying to shakedown the Gov’t for reaearch funds, and peddling their security software.

That said, it is really stupid for this country to buy military mission critical parts from China.


22 posted on 05/28/2012 8:44:43 PM PDT by wrench
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To: jcsjcm
Where is a rocket scientist when you need one!

You could ask Siri, but she's probably in on it, too.

23 posted on 05/28/2012 8:47:57 PM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: madison10
'This administration has the intelligence of an amoeba. That’s ONE amoeba.'

How dare you insult such an obviously intellectually superior one-celled organism like that!

"We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of Nature has placed in our power..... the battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."

--Patrick Henry, to the Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775


24 posted on 05/28/2012 8:50:03 PM PDT by Viking2002 ("Always with the negative waves, Moriarty, always with the negative waves!" - Sgt. Oddball)
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To: Pelham

Loral? Chinese general's daughter giving money directly to clinton campaign? Chinese spies giving money to clinton? Johnny Chung? Missing computer chip from failed rocket launch?

Been there, done that. No one cares. Just make sure I can get cheap stuff at Walmart.

25 posted on 05/28/2012 8:50:21 PM PDT by icwhatudo (This is not a choice between Romney&Reagan-Its between Romney & most radical leftist Pres in history)
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To: Pelham

Our Pentagon and military contractors: Dumb and Dumber


26 posted on 05/28/2012 8:52:35 PM PDT by txrefugee
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To: Pelham

Eventually we’ll go back to making our own stuff...after the whole mess collapses/goes to war and the survivors are left with no choice.

In a thousand years or so, once they’ve reached the 2nd bronze age, perhaps our descendants will be smarter than we were.


27 posted on 05/28/2012 8:56:24 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
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To: Pelham

Time to take another look at the F-22’s problem and God knows what else wrong with our military equipment.


28 posted on 05/28/2012 9:12:01 PM PDT by Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America
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To: txrefugee

“Our Pentagon and military contractors: Dumb and Dumber”

My father was an Army officer many years ago- he’ll be 92 very soon. In the late 1950s, early 1960s he was at the Pentagon.

At that time the Army and the DOD had people who kept track of vital industries and made sure that they that they were able to supply critical equipment when needed and that the firms weren’t sold to potential adversaries.

I marvel that we have fallen so far from this wise practice. Apparently this office must have been dissolved. I can only imagine it is another aspect of the ‘religion of globalism’ that seems to infect so many of our elites, both business and political. Fools.


29 posted on 05/28/2012 9:14:38 PM PDT by Pelham (Marco Rubio, so that we can be the capital of Latin America)
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To: WellyP

No shit. Years ago Huawei was still distributing router manuals with Cisco logos on them. Its a shame they have some legitimacy in the telco world now. They deserve to fail. I hope all the carriers that use their cheap equipment learn a lesson.


30 posted on 05/28/2012 9:16:32 PM PDT by lefty-lie-spy (Stay metal. For the Horde \m/("_")\m/ - via iPhone from Tokyo.)
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To: 1rudeboy

The must be making this up! Oh this really can’t happen!


31 posted on 05/28/2012 9:38:09 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: Paladin2

“Uh, we could use some serious transparency here.”

We should tattoo this on every CONgressman’s forehead.

We could, and as usual, won’t get it.


32 posted on 05/28/2012 9:47:18 PM PDT by Absolutely Nobama (The Doomsday Clock is at 11:58:59......)
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To: LucyT; Travis McGee; MestaMachine

Ping!


33 posted on 05/28/2012 9:49:34 PM PDT by Absolutely Nobama (The Doomsday Clock is at 11:58:59......)
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To: Pelham

There is no damned excuse for this level of dependence on foreign and very possibly hostile nations.


34 posted on 05/28/2012 10:00:21 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: Pelham

The DoD also used to keep tabs on raw material supplies like Mo, Ni and Cr. These days they should include the Rare Earths.


35 posted on 05/28/2012 10:04:05 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: The Antiyuppie
On the other hand, there was an illegal instruction (an unimplemented op code) on the Motorola 6800 that put the bus in an illegal state and locked the chip up so that it needed a power-on or hard reset - the infamous HCF (Halt and Catch Fire) instruction.

When it was discovered, some wag (don't recall who) gave the instruction that name. Some writers of assemblers included the HCF mnemonic.

They actually used that instruction during production line testing of each chip, because it exercised a goodly proportion of the logic.

But yeah, it would have been nice to have a trap for illegal instructions like that. At the time, they couldn't afford the random decode logic that it would have taken to implement the trap. No microcode on that chip, just pure random logic.

36 posted on 05/28/2012 10:17:20 PM PDT by Erasmus (BHO: New supreme leader of the homey rollin' empire.)
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To: Pelham

Well color me surprised.... /S


37 posted on 05/28/2012 10:18:43 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live athrough it anyway)
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To: Pelham

!


38 posted on 05/28/2012 10:28:50 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (WA. DC E$tabli$hment; DNC/RNC/Unionists...Brazilian saying: "$@me Old $hit; different flie$". :^)
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To: txrefugee
Our Pentagon and military contractors: Dumb and Dumber

I would say as much about our Pro-China congress and presidents since 1989. Remember those {wink wink} family members having China business connections {cough cough}?

Everybody sing along.

Oh with a laptop here and a forced landing there
Here a leak there a leak
Los Alamos a huge leak
Politicans sold us out E I E I O.

39 posted on 05/28/2012 11:02:13 PM PDT by cva66snipe (Two Choices left for U.S. One Nation Under GOD or One Nation Under Judgment? Which one say ye?)
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To: Pelham

This could be good for U.S.-based chip manufacturers.

Oh, they make most of their chips overseas due to cheap labor, looser environmental regulations and lower taxes.

And even in their U.S. chip operations they employ foreign H1B visa workers.

Darn that military industrial complex! /sarc


40 posted on 05/29/2012 12:45:09 AM PDT by anymouse (God didn't write this sitcom we call life, he's just the critic.)
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To: Pelham

This could be good for U.S.-based chip manufacturers.

Oh, they make most of their chips overseas due to cheap labor, looser environmental regulations and lower taxes.

And even in their U.S. chip operations they employ foreign H1B visa workers.

Darn that military industrial complex! /sarc


41 posted on 05/29/2012 12:45:27 AM PDT by anymouse (God didn't write this sitcom we call life, he's just the critic.)
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To: Pelham

A close reading of this article leads me to believe they are talking about a common micro-controller chip here. These chips power things like cell phones, microwave ovens, anti-lock brake systems...and most everything else these days.

They speak of a weakness in the chips encryption. I believe they are saying the code-protection feature is weak. When you program a controller chip and wish to protect your work you set a hardware flag that makes it impossible to read out the firmware by normal means.

There are companies that will open the chip and break the protection by physical means. But this story is about the manufacturer leaving in an easier way to get at the protected code.

from the article
“the chip in question is widely used in military and industrial applications. The “backdoor” means it is “wide open to intellectual property theft, fraud and reverse engineering of the design to allow the introduction of a backdoor or Trojan”, they said”

This statement is what leads me to believe they are speaking of a weak code-protection system on the chip.
This does not mean the chip can be re-programmed remotely. That ability is added by what is known as bootloader code in the chip. They don’t mention any such thing here.

Nearly all controller chips can be erased even if the code-protect flag is set. Then you can re-program the chip with new code. You could pay to have the protection of one chip physically defeated and get a copy of the firmware. Then you could simply erase the flash memory on any number of identical chips and re-program with code that has the original functionality and whatever added features you wish.(even bootloader code)

What I am saying is it would only be a little bit tougher to get at the firmware on a properly protected controller and then modify that firmware for nefarious purposes. The code-protect feature is merely a speedbump...that is all.

IMO some of the hardware geeks at this company just wanted a way to peek at whatever code these chips were ever programmed with...nothing more.

This is probably a licensed ARM variant of some type.


42 posted on 05/29/2012 1:39:53 AM PDT by Bobalu (It is not obama we are fighting, it is the media.)
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To: Bobalu

Bookmark


43 posted on 05/29/2012 2:09:04 AM PDT by publius911 (Formerly Publius 6961, formerly jennsdad)
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To: Pelham

Appears as though our creditors are securing their collateral.


44 posted on 05/29/2012 2:52:08 AM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: Pelham

bttt


45 posted on 05/29/2012 3:54:57 AM PDT by DaveTesla (You can fool some of the people some of the time......)
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To: Pelham
I'll bet, or I have to hope, that our government discovered the backdoor years ago and quietly replaced these chips on our military equipment - and the Goldman Sachs mainframes - in order to give the Chinese a surprise when they tried to shut everything down.

Of course We the Peasants are xcrewed if you're one of those rare people who use a personal computer or keep money in a non-TBTF bank or use electricity from a grid controlled by a computer.

46 posted on 05/29/2012 5:52:43 AM PDT by Sirius Lee (When we cease to be good we'll cease to be great. Be for Goode.)
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To: Sirius Lee

This is old news.

Lots of work has been done to check the artwork for these kinds of things.

BTW, this kind if cuts both ways.

The Chinese copy everything :-)


47 posted on 01/06/2014 2:09:38 PM PST by rdcbn
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To: Pelham

Why would they use a “backdoor” when we’ve pretty much invited them in the front?


48 posted on 01/06/2014 2:13:30 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Pelham; COUNTrecount; Nowhere Man; FightThePower!; C. Edmund Wright; jacob allen; Travis McGee; ...

Nut-job Conspiracy Theory Ping!

To get onto The Nut-job Conspiracy Theory Ping List you must threaten to report me to the Mods if I don't add you to the list...

49 posted on 01/06/2014 2:32:13 PM PST by null and void (It is as if they all had one head. Too bad they don’t all have one neck.)
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To: Pelham
Does anyone remember CryptoAG?

Not only does the U.S. government do the same thing, but they've been caught doing it as well. I simply do not understand how the military could accept for delivery anything with a CPU from china. That would include an amazing amount of stuff these days. Hell, my coffee roaster has a computer in it.

50 posted on 01/06/2014 2:50:55 PM PST by zeugma (Is it evil of me to teach my bird to say "here kitty, kitty"?)
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