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Lenovo Under U.S. Probe for Spying 327

Posted by Zonk
from the seekrit-agent-man dept.
BigControversy writes "The DailyTech has a report indicating that Lenovo, the giant Chinese PC manufacturer, is under a probe by the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission (USCC) for possible bugging. Apparently, the government has ordered 16,000 PCs from Lenovo but is now requesting that Lenovo be investigated by intelligence agencies. The fear is of foreign intelligence applying pressure to Lenovo to equip its PCs so that the U.S. can be spied on." From the article: "Despite the probe, Lenovo says that its international business, especially those that deal with the US, follow strictly laid out government regulations and rules. Lenovo also claims that even after purchasing IBM's PC division, its international business has not been affected negatively. Interestingly, in an interview with the BBC, Lenovo mentioned that an open investigation or probe may negatively affect the way that the company deals with future government contracts or bids." There just has to be better uses of our intelligence community's time.
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Lenovo Under U.S. Probe for Spying

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  • by JMUChrisF (188300) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:23AM (#15026140)
    Isn't this the perfect use of our intelligence community? I think this is a very valid threat from a community like China who has been known to have spies in the US at all times. (Not saying we don't spy back, but that's the game!).

    A lot of federal agencies have policies about using foreign hardware/software for reasons just like this. Go USA!
    • by Mattcelt (454751) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:38AM (#15026267)
      Absolutely! This is what the counterintelligence agencies DO!

      Seriously, who would be surprised if a Chinese company (remember the Chinese? They're still Communists!!) was encouraged to spy on U.S. Government agencies? To think otherwise is, IMO, incredibly naïve.

      Personally, I think Lenovo ought to be barred from selling hardware to the U.S. Government altogether. It's simply not worth the security risk.
    • Interesting point this. If these PCs were ordered from Dell which Levono purchased and which I'd reason was in part a basis for this deal, would an investigation have been ordered.

      IMHO, it is good practice to have standing procedures to investigate all contracts/purchases, be them government, business or personal. And it would be extremely bad procedure for a foreign government to attempt such a poor spying procedure, but no harm in checking, which I doubt would be very hard.

      But I think this is a ve
      • Declining population (Score:2, Interesting)

        by hackwrench (573697)
        China:1,306,313,813
        United States: 298,290,000
        Get back to me when China doesn't outnumber the United States 4 to 1.

        But seriously, what effect does declining population have on either China's stability or beligerence.

        Also, what does it say when successive generations are viewed not as hope for the future but a threat to it?
      • The Chinese communist government with nuclear missiles pointed at Japan, Taiwan, and the US do not have %10 share ownership of Dell. The Chinese communist government that is routinely caught spying on Japan, Taiwan, and the US does not have %10 share ownership of HP. The Chinese communist government that frequently trades with Iran, Libya and has been responsible for the dissemination of nuclear plans to Pakistan and North Korea does not have 10% share ownership of Toshiba.

        China is a problem. It is a
      • I would disagree with use use of 'threat from a community like China' in your statement: China is booming because of free trade, they have a declining population (young people, infact the population is projected to increase for a while as life expectancy from the incumbant increases), and virtually everything to lose from any kind of hostile activity - its not as if a communist ideal exists in China today to peddle to the rest of the world.

        If you believe that, then I know a general who would like your ad
    • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:41AM (#15026286) Journal
      In light of all the spying that we did against the USSR (xerox copy machines, sabatoged oil line controls leading to an explosion, etc) and China (using Nauru's embassy, splices in the telecom, etc.) , we would be insane to not check the equipment. What amazes me is that over the last 5 years, our gov. has outsourced so many critical areas to nations that are at best neutral, and more likely future enemies.
      • What amazes me is that over the last 5 years, our gov. has outsourced so many critical areas to nations that are at best neutral, and more likely future enemies.

        A cynic might take that to mean that the US is looking to make a lot more enemies.. Who am I kidding, the plans to invade my country have already been made, a bill was passed by Congress to invade The Hague in the event the International Criminal Court would ever attempt to try a USian.. SO yeah, I live in a future enemy State, despite being one of
    • Hell, no doubt even Canada has a few.
      • Hell, no doubt even Canada has a few.

        Canada would never spy on the U.S. As an employee of the CIA, I can assure you that you have no idea what you're talking aboot, eh?

      • Canada does. http://www.csis-scrs.gc.ca/ [csis-scrs.gc.ca] But they tend to lose Secret documents at hockey games, and their idea of tourture is feeding people poutine until they risk cardiac arrest before rushing them to the hospital for free health care, feeling sorry and giving people Citizenship for any hardship they faced, then calling it a day and going to drink beer and watch hockey.
    • I concur. This is exactly what those spy agencies _should_ be doing and I for one feel good they are actually doing something right instead of spying on individual US citizens for a change.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:51AM (#15026363)
      Like it or not, we totally depend on other countries. I used to work on a military system that used tubes (valves for you brits). The tubes were no longer made in the west. The only source of the tubes was the USSR (with whom we would have been at war, if there was a war). If the third world war had lasted more than a month, we would have had to order spare parts from the Russians.

      Mil Spec used to require second source suppliers for everything. That means every chip, resistor and capacitor. To do that now would require that several companies have the complete design of everything down to the last square mm of silicon. Such a policy would effectively prevent spying devices because many people would be able to examine the design. The same reason that open source is safer than Windows is the same reason that hardware designs should be open sourced (or at least second sourced).

      BTW. You are absolutely right. Even friendly countries spy on each other. There was a story going around a while ago about an embassy had to be totally torn down because the local workers who built it had planted many microphones in it.

    • A lot of federal agencies have policies about using foreign hardware/software for reasons just like this. Go USA!

      Oh yes, while the notebooks carried the IBM lable, they were good american products, while now they're evil chinese. Very interesting approach, considering that the computers were built all the time in the same factory in China.

      I guess, if you'd have to buy american-only computers, you won't be able to purchase from Dell, IBM, HP, Toshiba, Sun and most other brands.

      • Now that you mention it, I would really like to know if it is at all possible to purchase a fully "Made in the USA" computer (desktop or laptop)? Do you know of any?
      • Actually, many of the IBM's pc were not made in China. Some assemblage went on there, but the design and the chip man. occured in the USA and Europe. Now, much of that has been moved to China.

        Keep in mind, that China, like USA, will go to great lengths to spy on others. We both do it against our own citizens as well as against other nations. USA really does need to check the equipment.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30, 2006 @11:10AM (#15026535)
      / It looks like someone is trying   \
      | to spy on you. Would you like to? |
      | *Save your changes and exit now.  |
      | *Trace the attackers IP.          |
      \ *Turn off these warnings.         /
         /
      __/
      olo
      |||
      \_/
    • This is a bad policy for a number of reasons:

      (1) Factually, the computers are not being made in different placed than they were before or by different people. It should only be slightly easier for the Chinese to do this now that it's Lenovo and not "IBM PC Division."

      (2) Lets say that the Chinese were caught bugging computers -- it would be horrible public relations not only for Lenovo, which would lose some gigantic portion of its market share, but for the entire computer industry that manufactures oversea
    • Specifically, if I were them, I'd look into Lenovo's TPM implementation. [mutantfrog.com] The Chinese State Encryption Agency is mandating that these chips be put in be all PCs purchased for security-conscious government use. Lenovo will also be selling these on the mass market.

      The question is whether or not the SEA has mandated backdoors. Since the chips are meant to be used for state purposes, I highly doubt that there's a backdoor in the chips used by China because that would make China weak to spies if someone found
  • by trazom28 (134909) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:23AM (#15026143)
    We have a crapload of good PC Manufacturers here in the states, and our government instead orders 16,000 PCs from a Chinese manufacturer?
    • The factories were already in China when the Thinkpad division was owned by IBM.
    • by OS24Ever (245667) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:35AM (#15026234) Homepage Journal
      Dell, HP, IBM, Apple, and many, many others are most of the time built right next to each other in China. I'd be willing to bet there isn't a single computer where every piece in it is made in the USA, or a US Friendly country (friendly by my definition = NATO)
      • Insight into the build of a dell

        http://www.impactlab.com/modules.php?name=News&fil e=print&sid=5338>

        "Dell has six factories around the world - in Limerick, Ireland; Xiamen, China; Eldorado do Sul, Brazil; Nashville, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; and Penang, Malaysia"

        Interestingly enough there are actually 2 factories in the USA. The rest of the article has a very intersting look at what goes into a dell notebook.

      • I don't know about "made" in the USA but there are plenty of computers "assembled" in the USA. The United States is not a 100% free trade market player (no country is), so there are tariffs and costs to shipping in a complete product compared to just getting parts. China is the same. Try starting a business there, you will find that you have to have a shop in China doing x% of your business to the country. It's a good idea that the U.S. should do for ALL trades since it does the following:

        1. Slows growt
      • Dell, HP, IBM, Apple, and many, many others are most of the time built right next to each other in China.

        However US corporations can inspect the goods returned from manufacturing, verifying that the ROMs and the installed software matches what they provided. I'd imagine they would be doing so already, due to QA and antivirus concerns. A foreign agent would need to infiltrate the US corp to alter the expected results. Plauable but more difficult than the corp and the manufacturing being in an "unfriendly
        • However US corporations can inspect the goods returned from manufacturing, verifying that the ROMs and the installed software matches what they provided.

          Harder said than done. I could have a chip made that looks just like a ROM, but contains an extra code version that it switches to after say, 100 hours of use.

          You could run checksums all you want, but the only way you could catch that is if you either depackage the chips and inspect it, or happen to inspect your computer after it's alreay been in serv
    • We have a crapload of good PC Manufacturers here in the states, and our government instead orders 16,000 PCs from a Chinese manufacturer?

      Well, first of all, we don't - outsourcing ended US PC manufacturing a long time ago. Even if it didn't, outsourcing of mobo's, hard drives, and most other components would make sure if there was some sort of monitoring agent put in there, you wouldn't know it.

      On another tack, it seems it's always the right wing who bitch about high taxes and 'guvmint wastin' our money'

  • by tpgp (48001) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:25AM (#15026149) Homepage
    The fear is of foreign intelligence applying pressure to Lenovo to equip its PCs so that the U.S. can be spied on."

    Should read:

    The fear is of the Chinese Trade Gap [csmonitor.com] widening further

    Fixed! (Its a joke for the humour impaired)
  • ...why did they order the PCs from China in the first place? Didn't they know that their attempt to save a buck might end up in future unforeseen costs?

    Next time, but from US manufacturers! Let this be a lesson learned.
  • I think not. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by biggyfred (754376) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:27AM (#15026158)
    Better use of intelligence time? This should be taken damned seriously. Have a look at PROMIS [google.com] and tell me this is a benign subject..
    • um. Didn't this company make all the Thinkpads? Do you realize that almost ALL laptops are made by Chinese companies? Aren't you all a little late to worry about foreign companies making our equipment? Profit overrules, doesn't it? No unions, no environmental regulations, workers working for pennies an hour, isn't that the whole point of the last ten years? Corporate duty is to make profit only, not worry about people or national interests, no?

      It sounds to me like the usual suspects in the U.S. right are tr
  • MicroSoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bombadillo (706765) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:27AM (#15026159)
    This isn't much different than the Chineese Governments fear of backdoors placed in M.S. Windows by U.S intellegence. The shoe is on the other foot now.
    • I love it when perfectly valid comments get marked 'troll.' :-/
    • Re:MicroSoft (Score:3, Informative)

      by dominator (61418)
      And Microsoft gave into the Chinese government's demands and released their source code so that it could be audited. This is just the cost of doing business with powerful governments with large budgets. Lenovo should, like Microsoft, suck it up, or lose the US government's business. Turnabout is fair play, after all...
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <.ten.enilnotpo. .ta. .rehtorgw.> on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:29AM (#15026168) Journal
    The supposed problem presented by the USCC is that the 16,000 computers are being built by a Chinese-mainland company. The USCC argues that a foreign intelligence like that of the Communist Party of China (CPC) can use its power to get Lenovo to equip its machines with espionage devices. Lenovo has strongly declined that it is involved in any such activities.

    On the one hand, they have a point: it would be very easy for the Chinese government to "encourage" Lenovo to plant things in these machines to allow them to spy on the US. On the other hand, given the profusion of malware, keyloggers, Trojans, and such, the Chinese government could already be spying on the US without having to go to such extraordinary lengths. Frankly, it's too obvious to be credible.

  • How do you figure? Isn't this what they should *actually* be doing, so we make rational decisions instead of using kneejerk racisim to eliminate foreign business? They should investigate, so we can base decisions on facts for a change.
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:29AM (#15026179) Homepage Journal
    Hmmm, with so many goods coming from China these days, your TV and DVD player may be spying on you too, or in the near future, especially with the growth of home networks. Seriously, trying to buy any kind of electronics that don't come from China is getting harder and harder. Do it yourselfers aren't much safer, afterall, would anyone notice if the network chip on that Chinese made motherboard have some extra functionality? My, isn't paranoia fun?
  • Not Surprised (Score:2, Insightful)

    They spy on us, and we spy on them. Nothing new.

    The only thing is now they're worried that the Chinese gov got a PC supplier to fiddle with their product. Maybe not all, just 1 out of 100 or something.

    Do I think China did this? No.

    But it's pretty much the job of intelligence agencies to be paranoid.
  • by Rhys (96510) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:30AM (#15026190) Homepage
    And you didn't install the OS yourself from something "known good" (or at least believed good, like a generic windows install CD bought at best buy or your other favorite local rip-off shop) you're an idiot.

    Beyond that, by talking about it, you've given "the enemy" information on how your IT practices work: you pretty obviously don't use ghost or any similar sort of mass deployment software. (yes, I realize that for laptops with all their custom crap it doesn't work as well. Still, a place I worked as a summer intern used to do it back in the 96-2000 era on IBM thinkpads, so...)

    Security by obscurity? Sure. That is all your password is, after all too, it (sec by obs) isn't strictly a bad thing.
    • I believe the expected "bug" would be hardware, not software.
    • by chill (34294) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:50AM (#15026359) Journal
      And you didn't install the OS yourself from something "known good" (or at least believed good, like a generic windows install CD bought at best buy or your other favorite local rip-off shop) you're an idiot.

      Irrelevant.

      BIOS has gotten to the point [phoenix.com] that it can "phone home" before you even get to the OS. A small modification to hardware or firmware can make it so the system inserts key packets into the network stream, sending covert messages out to the equivalent of electronic "dead drops".

      We aren't talking about always-on-a-secure-network PCs, but laptops that'll be jacked into hotels, Starbucks and other insecure networks at some point.

      Unless you jack those machines in behind a traffic analyzer/router that captures every packet, then analyze *each* packet that goes out of the machine, you'll never be 100% sure the hardware isn't trojaned.

      Ping is nice and innocuous. Are you sure you know what that 56-byte payload contains [wfu.edu]? Have you ever looked? What about DNS requests? They happen ALL the time. Did you analyze each one to make sure they aren't requesting TXT-records that get forwarded over to a Chinese-owned server in the U.S.?

        -Charles
    • Security by obscurity? Sure. That is all your password is, after all too, it (sec by obs) isn't strictly a bad thing.

      The difference between a secret password and a "secret" IT practice is that the password can be changed easily if the secret is revealed. Bruce Schneier calls this "brittle" secrets vs. resilient secrets, e.g. a lock with a key or combination (which can be changed) vs. the location of a secret door (which would be difficuilt to relocate).

      Also, don't overlook the possibility that potentia

    • Security by obscurity? Sure. That is all your password is, after all too, it (sec by obs) isn't strictly a bad thing.

      Security by obscurity isn't about existing secrets (hey, if you encrypt something, then you also obscure the contents and hope for security).
      Security by obscurity means: We don't tell anyone how it works, so they will have a hard time figuring that out first until they can get in. Security by obscurity means: Putting the key under the doormat, so no one knows where the secret (the actual uniq

    • you pretty obviously don't use ghost or any similar sort of mass deployment software

      Agreed. Maybe Roadhouse or any other Patrick Swayze film, but not Ghost.
  • I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by e**(i pi)-1 (462311) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:32AM (#15026205) Homepage Journal
    Any built-in addition features in the hardware, the bios or
    even the preinstalled operating system would be immediately
    detected and destroy the entire PC business of Lenovo abroad.
    • Not nessicarily,

      Not too long ago, Boeing sold a couple 747's to the Chinese government to be used for government officials. The Chinese found out they were loaded with listening devices. They bought a couple Airbuses for the Chinese officials instead, but it didn't effect the sale of Boeing planes to airlines and such that aren't worried about spying.
    • Immediately detected?

      Some counterexamples include the Sony rootkit, which was shipping for most of a year before being caught and wasn't even that cleverly coded, and Interbase, which went six or seven years before anyone noticed the back door login. Or of course the brilliant Ken Thompson backdoor in /bin/login.

      The problem with this investigation is that PCs shouldn't be trusted anyway. Does anyone think that an intelligence agency couldn't develop, or spend a thousand dollars to buy, a zero-day Windows vu
    • Any built-in addition features in the hardware, the bios or even the preinstalled operating system would be immediately detected and destroy the entire PC business of Lenovo abroad.

      Not necessarily. They could claim that they were infiltrated by a government agent who made a substitution/alteration. It actually is plausible, the government might not want to trust management or more importantly the fewer people who know the less likely it is to leak. They could successfully argue that any corporation or m
  • by JamesD_UK (721413) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:32AM (#15026206) Homepage
    After all, it'd be so easy to find a PC that didn't have any components made in China. Where's the sarcasm tag? :-)
  • While there's a good chance this probe will find nothing, espionage is still alive and well. The world as not nearly as peaceful as we'd like to think it is. Have you ever seen xray photos of electronics with bugs embeded in them? They do exist.
  • Just a stunt (Score:3, Insightful)

    by orzetto (545509) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:33AM (#15026213)

    The USCC is an organ of the US Congress. These are the members [uscc.gov]. If I understand correctly, they are all politicians. Chinese do things cheaper than Americans, American politicians whine so they look like they are against outsourcing, then they buy happily.

    Seriously, bugging thousands of PCs to get intelligence? Give me a break. Intelligence is not just about getting information, it is also about not getting caught and leaving no evidence. Thousands of PCs trying to send coded messages to Beijing would ring a bell even at the Department of Homeland Security. It's much simpler and safer to buy or blackmail a politician or an employee to provide information.

    • You aren't thinking like an intelligence agency. There are subtle ways that hardware can be modified that are hard to detect. Many of these techniques have been known for decades. They can be designed to be deniable. You don't have to collect information from all of the PCs, just the ones that have been installed in interesting places.
  • There just has to be better uses of our intelligence .
    WHY ???
    You dont think the Chineese would do this ?
    Does anyone remeber our com plane and its pilots ?
    The Chineese wouldnt even think twice about doing something like this. They would do it hands down.
    Shit WE would do it, and we did, look at all the games we played with the russians, bugged photocopiers for example.
    You seem like a plant , or a way to trusting soul to be on slashdot
  • I'm surprised that more foreign goverments aren't calling for similar investigations of US-based suppliers of IT resources to other goverments. This move, even if justified, seems to take things in a bad direction for all.

    Anyway, wouldn't outsorcing to other countries have some similar exposures?

  • Given the concern expressed by the US in starting this investigation, should the Chinese government be as concerned with US software? What would be the reprecussions of the Chinese government investigating US software companies for possible spying?
  • I mean, look at what they've been up to:

    http://digg.com/technology/_Help_me_Obi_Wan_Kenobi _Rocket_Boosters_Batman-esque_armor_plating_ [digg.com]

    At best they've been spying on Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, and Obi-Wan. Down with the bastahds. :P
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:42AM (#15026301)
    Xenophobia.

    I have nothing further to add, because that word sums it all up. While there are valid threats against the USA and in the intelligence community there are measures to tap into restricted data, they are NOT going to mess with PCs for fuck's sake! If someone has high security requirements that entity is not going to buy from a consumer level shop ANYWAY.

    Geez.
    • they are NOT going to mess with PCs for fuck's sake! If someone has high security requirements that entity is not going to buy from a consumer level shop ANYWAY.

      So you're saying that the sensitive departments of the US government custom builds their own desktops and laptops? Have a reference?
    • Ya know, you say that like it's a bad thing, but maybe we need to be a little more xenophobic.

      Our steel industry is completely decimated now. We barely make any heavy machinery in the United States. God forbid we actually ever get into a real war against the countries we've outsourced these things to.

      Besides that, xenophobia is good for business. Look at the Japanese.... no one can sell electronics to them except Japanese. It's a guaranteed lock that the new Nintendo and Playstation boxes will do
      • Our steel industry is completely decimated now. We barely make any heavy machinery in the United States. God forbid we actually ever get into a real war against the countries we've outsourced these things to.

        Ah yes, the classic protectionist defense argument. How can you make this claim when, whatever difficulties U.S. ground troops may have, U.S. naval and air domination is absolutely overwhelming? According to this [csbaonline.org], the U.S. navy is the world's largest navy with a tonnage greater than 17 of the next

    • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @12:12PM (#15027137) Homepage
      Xenophobia. I have nothing further to add, because that word sums it all up. While there are valid threats against the USA and in the intelligence community there are measures to tap into restricted data, they are NOT going to mess with PCs for fuck's sake! If someone has high security requirements that entity is not going to buy from a consumer level shop ANYWAY.

      That's terribly naive. You fail to realize that most espionage is industrial. Billions of dollars are lost due to industrial espionage, foreign countries acquire R&D info that saves them time and money, their military tech is advanced by years, ...

      Also naive is to think that people with high security are the only target. In the real world espionage often goes for indirect info. What companies are supplying the goods and services, are their changes in orders, their production, etc. You don't have to get the general's plan for an invasion, you may only need to identify his preparations.
  • by gorbachev (512743) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:44AM (#15026313) Homepage
    Levono is NOT being investigated for spying or bugging the computers sold to the US Government.

    The US Government is basically doing a security check on the computers they ordered to make sure there's nothing extra on those computers.

    Someone got their panties all in a wad is trying to score some polipoints by being patriotic.

    There really is smoke without a fire. This proves it.
  • by peter303 (12292) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:46AM (#15026331)
    Though Windows/IE takes less than an hour on average to become infected with spyware after connecting to the Net, Lenevo saves you the trouble by pre-loading it.

    (A joke, not a troll)
  • Ok, so it's not spying. But the explosion could be detected from orbit. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4394002 [msn.com]
  • by sirwired (27582) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:47AM (#15026335)
    First off, they aren't under a "probe" for possible spying, despite what the article says. A "probe" would imply that somebody has reason to believe there is actually spying going on. Instead, this is a stupid "investigation" to ensure that there isn't, despite a complete lack of evidence saying there is. This is simple xenophobia, nothing more.

    Do the geniuses that ordered this "probe" realize that the vast majority of components in a modern computer come from the orient? That it is VERY difficult to find a keyboard, mouse, case, or power supply that is NOT made in China? Do they know that many laptops (not Lenovo) are manufactured by Chinese-owned companies, and/or made directly in China itself?

    The only thing that could be worrisome is if they had Lenovo handle the builds on the hard drives, but NO classified shop should be relying on "outside" builds anyway.

    Do these folks ALSO realize that by law, no computer containing classified data may be connected to a public network of any kind? How is any "bugged" machine supposed to export the data? Osmosis? Telepathy?

    SirWired
    • Classified data is not the issue. Industrial espionage is a big issue that you should not underestimate, and the government is becoming more aware of information security issues.

      Sensitive-but-unclassified (SBU) data also deserves protection, and many non-military government facilities have Information Assurance policies that they are required to follow. Proving that a vendors' facilities and processes cannot be exploited by agents of foreign governments is not a simple matter.

      Yes, the possibility exists t
  • I don't see why this is a big public story. Why did they even tell Lenovo about this.

    If the U.S. is concerned (which is reasonable), then they just take a few laptops out of the shipment when it arrives and send it down to the lab to be inspected and tested. If everything is in order, pass out the rest of them.

    If you do find something, then... uh... Bomb china or whatever it is we do when people piss us off. Oh, and ask for your money back.

    I don't see why this should be a story, I would hope tha
  • by analog_line (465182) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @11:00AM (#15026440)
    This is exactly the kind of thing our intelligence communities should be getting involved in. First off, this kind of stunt would be the first thing our own intelligence agencies would try to do if the Chinese government were buying computers built by an American company on American soil. Some arm of the US intelligence community planted bugs in wine bottles and other amusing places near the UN ambassadors on the Security Council during the buildup to the Iraq War.

    The Chinese practically wrote the book on espionage. For some interesting reading on the subject take a look at The Tao of Spycraft" [amazon.com]. Interesting, if extremely dry, reading if you're interested in the intelligence community. A very good look at the LONG history of intelligence practice that the Chinese government has to draw on. I got interested working in computer security when everyone else in my office was ex-mil intelligence.

    And not being particularly antagonistic toward us doesn't mean anything. Back in 1999/2000, the general opinion by most of my co-workers who knew something about it was that France and Israel were the countries that were spying on us the most, with China coming in third. The only reason Britain wasn't number 1 on the list was "we already give them everything we know."

    I wouldn't put it past us to try it on them, so it would be ridiculous to trust that they wouldn't try it to us too.
    • dude.. you really need to get a grip. You think the Chinese had no prior ability to do things like you suggest before they actually purchased the laptop biz? And the USCC is not the intel community:

      Composition: The Commission is composed of 12 members, three of whom are selected by each of the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate, and the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the House. The Commissioners serve two-year terms.

      I said many times during the DPW brooha that one cannot easily pick a poin

  • by XMilkProject (935232) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @11:03AM (#15026461) Homepage
    Probably they should ship the laptops to Jerry Taylor [slashdot.org] in Tuttle, Oklahoma for inspection.
  • Only on slashdot... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pmike_bauer (763028) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @11:06AM (#15026487)
    ...are you going to find a collection of article summaries that:

    1) criticize the United States for using it's intelligence resources to protect itself from a corporation operating out of Communist China.

    2) criticize the US for not using intelligence resources "_enough_" to protect its ports/borders/etc.

    3) criticize the US for using intelligence resource "_too_much_" by wire-tapping potential terrorists.

    Go figure.
    • Agreed. While the government does take enormous efforts to block out these things (wireless security problems would be non-existant), there are legitimate fears. Contractors do screw up and break the rules that prohibit access to the Internet and things like that. DoHS in particular had that problem a while back with some of its security audits. One group found dozens of modems that were accessible from outside the DoHS on machines that were part of the DoHS networks.
    • You say that like it's a bad thing.

      Perhaps we should all have the same opinions (as you?).
    • Those positions could be entirely consistent. You don't have to resort to the hypothesis that there's more than one person on Slashdot and that there's a diversity of views.

      Nobody's shown a concrete reason to worry about Lenovo, the wiretaps of "potential terrorists" led the FBI to complain that their time was being wasted with dead ends [nytimes.com] (not to mention that the complaint was that the wiretaps were against the law), and the 9/11 commission pointed to port security as a serious and deadly weakness.

      Maybe you'
    • "1) criticize the United States for using it's intelligence resources to protect itself from a corporation operating out of Communist China."

      Except that China is not communist. It is MORE capitalist than the USA. It is also not a democracy.

      "2) criticize the US for not using intelligence resources "_enough_" to protect its ports/borders/etc."

      Actually, every sane government would and does protect it's borders. You don't generally see the security service outsourced to a foreign country for the same rea
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30, 2006 @11:08AM (#15026512)
    There just has to be better uses of our intelligence community's time.


    There is. You just don't hear about it.
  • uummm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arrgster (951348)
    First of all I think anything installed would quickly be found and be the end of lanovo. secondly If they are going to have this kind of view then they will have to look at all brands of computers like Dell or Gateway because I bet you at least some of the parts (if not all) came from a foreign source. Personally this sounds like a bad press move by a competitor to ruin Lanovo because they make such a good product....
  • is that the government is buying windows laptops, not secure ones. it doesn't have a lot to do with lenovo.
  • Why is it that if someone asserts that the US might be doing the same thing with Windows and other things -- mandated back doors, master keys, etc -- they get dismissed as paranoid cranks who are just bashing the US government.

    But if the Americans accuse a foreign country of doing the exact same thing with the exact same lack of evidence it's a perfectly valid security concern?

    The blurb provides no proof, no belief it's happening, merely that a US agency has decided to insist this possibility be investigate
  • There just has to be better uses of our intelligence community's time.

    Are you fucking kidding me? I'd say it is critical to secure computers in government.

    The real news here is that our government is stupid enough to buy computers from China. Are we going to have Russia building our ICBMs for us now? There are just some things you have to do yourself.

  • by Serveert (102805) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @12:41PM (#15027403)
    Anti immigrant, anti foreigners(Lenovo, CNOOC 18.b billion USD bid for US oil company, Dubai ports deal, Israeli attempt to by US security firm,etc etc). We're like this precisely when reports come out saying there is little savings by Americans. Foreigners are flush with cash, they are sitting on piles and piles of dollars, and they're finding dollars are harder to use.

    I still maintain that as this continues this will increase inflation, USD will be the new monopoly money.

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