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Harold Gough
5th October 2018, 06:29 AM
https://www.grahamcluley.com/china-accused-of-sabotaging-thousands-of-servers-at-major-us-companies-with-tiny-microchips-hidden-on-motherboards/

Harold

TimP
5th October 2018, 06:43 AM
I’ve been reading about this elsewhere and am not at all surprised. I don’t know how anyone would be supposed to know what each and every chip on even a small motherboard does, let alone something not much bigger than a pin head on a huge rack mount motherboard. The only way you’d know anything was up would probably be if you had a network packet sniffer monitoring all network traffic to/from the device.
So, not surprised and would expect more revelations to come.

Naughty Nigel
5th October 2018, 07:01 AM
Iíve been reading about this elsewhere and am not at all surprised. I donít know how anyone would be supposed to know what each and every chip on even a small motherboard does, let alone something not much bigger than a pin head on a huge rack mount motherboard. The only way youíd know anything was up would probably be if you had a network packet sniffer monitoring all network traffic to/from the device.
So, not surprised and would expect more revelations to come.

The US government has already banned the use of Huawei 4G dongles by government employees because they have reason to believe there is a risk of interception.

We are now reaping what we have collectively sown by putting all our eggs in one cheap supply chain, by putting shot term profit above national security and the welfare of our own people who could be making these components.

The irony is that if China disrupts Amazon's or Apple's supply chain they will be shooting themselves in both feet. There isn't much that either of these organisations sell that doesn't originate from China!

TimP
5th October 2018, 07:14 AM
Yep, short term profit, short term gains then sod the rest!

It’s not a new thing though, I remember joking back in the late 70s / early 80s that if you looked at the place of manufacturing printed on every IC you’d be reading a list of the sweat shops of the third world, yet here they were making millions of 74xx and 4000 series cmos chips. So 40 years worth! Jeez, how time flies! Sadly, I can no longer read such tiny writing and can’t remember the last time I saw an IC in anger. I used to repair down to chip level, now you just chuck everything away when it breaks.

Naughty Nigel
5th October 2018, 10:06 AM
Sadly, I can no longer read such tiny writing and canít remember the last time I saw an IC in anger. I used to repair down to chip level, now you just chuck everything away when it breaks.

....And that is why I find modern electronics so boring.

But if China declared war on the west we would be comprehensively gu99ered because without Chinese components would could make virtually nothing unless it had thermionic valves in, and even then we would be reliant on the Russians. :(

But I daresay the bottom line of the spredsheet looks better for it. :mad:

TimP
5th October 2018, 10:25 AM
But surely there’s nothing you can’t with an OC72?

TimP
5th October 2018, 10:27 AM
....And that is why I find modern electronics so boring.

But if China declared war on the west we would be comprehensively gu99ered because without Chinese components would could make virtually nothing unless it had thermionic valves in, and even then we would be reliant on the Russians. :(

But I daresay the bottom line of the spredsheet looks better for it. :mad:

Do people even use scopes any more? Would a Uni student studying some electronics course even know what one was? (I genuinely have no idea)

But youíre right, itís all the bottom line that matters, how short sighted is that.

Naughty Nigel
5th October 2018, 10:36 AM
But surely thereís nothing you canít with an OC72?

... Or an ECC83 and EL84. :D

The BC109 was a lot more stable than an OC72 though, and was much more difficult to destroy.

Naughty Nigel
5th October 2018, 10:56 AM
Do people even use scopes any more? Would a Uni student studying some electronics course even know what one was? (I genuinely have no idea)

But youíre right, itís all the bottom line that matters, how short sighted is that.

I think they do still use 'scopes, but they don't have big, long CRT displays like my Tektronix and they don't glow in the dark or keep the workshop warm in winter. Modern scopes probably run from a pair of AA cells and have airy fairy LCD screens with storage so they can replay events. Boooring. :(

Jim Ford
5th October 2018, 11:07 AM
But surely thereís nothing you canít with an OC72?

You can do more with an OC71! You can scrape the paint off it, turning it into an OC70 for light sensitivity.

Jim

TimP
5th October 2018, 11:32 AM
... Or an ECC83 and EL84. :D

The BC109 was a lot more stable than an OC72 though, and was much more difficult to destroy.

Surely the BC109 was a much later design that the OC72. I bet Iíve got loads of the things somewhere. BC184 rings a bell too, along with a whole bunch of 2N3055s, both PNP and NPN!

Ah, memories.
Talking of which, didnít you take the OC72 out of its aluminium case / tube and use it as a light dependent something or other??

TimP
5th October 2018, 11:33 AM
You can do more with an OC71! You can scrape the paint off it, turning it into an OC70 for light sensitivity.

Jim

Thanks Jim, see my other post where Iíd remember just this, but truly hadnít read your post at that point!

OM USer
5th October 2018, 11:48 AM
You would not need a specialist IC chip to hack a computer. All it would take would be a few lines of microcode embedded in an existing chip.

I remember the BC109 - a new fangled version of the BC108 and BC107 before it.

TimP
5th October 2018, 12:09 PM
And then there was the BF110..... oh wait, that was something else.

TimP
5th October 2018, 12:11 PM
You would not need a specialist IC chip to hack a computer. All it would take would be a few lines of microcode embedded in an existing chip.



Wasnt that part of the point, the dodgy code resided in the hidden chip and inserted itself into the BMC (or other firmware) at an opportune time.

Jim Ford
5th October 2018, 01:56 PM
I remember buying a OC71 packaged in a large box - like valves came in. It was expensive! As a hobbyist it was generally 'red spot' transistors, which I believe were factory rejects.

Jim

Naughty Nigel
8th October 2018, 01:26 PM
I remember buying a OC71 packaged in a large box - like valves came in. It was expensive! As a hobbyist it was generally 'red spot' transistors, which I believe were factory rejects.

Jim

I can remember sending postal orders off for bags of unmarked or untested transistors and diodes. I think they were about 6/- plus 6d postage. *yes

TimP
8th October 2018, 03:17 PM
And I remember checking transistors using an AVO.

wornish
8th October 2018, 04:07 PM
I too used to fix electronics down to the chip level. Mainly digital stuff that used DILICS - Dual In-Line Integrated Circuits. usually 14 pin devices that contained 4 NAND gates or 4 NOR gates and the like. The rate of change was amazing my wife earned more money working piece work at ICL wiring backplanes for their mainframe computers, than I did designing them. Now all electronic assembly is done with robots or in China.

sapper
8th October 2018, 04:25 PM
I used to listen to transitor radios*chr*chr

Jim Ford
8th October 2018, 06:31 PM
And I remember checking transistors using an AVO.

Yes, me too!

Jim

Naughty Nigel
8th October 2018, 06:42 PM
And I remember checking transistors using an AVO.

I had a Taylor meter which I thought was much better. I had that for years but eventually the meter movement failed by which time Taylor had disappeared and/or was unable to repair it. (I cannot remember which now.)

But I do still have an oscilloscope built by EMI around 1960 (the EM8) which was evidently hand made as it doesn't have a single rivet or spot weld in it. I haven't fired it up for a while but it all worked the last time I tried and was good for keeping the workshop warm in winter. :)

Keith-369
8th October 2018, 07:23 PM
I still have all my resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc. etc. etc. all sorted and in little packets ready for use.

Why? ... I just don't like to get rid of them. *shrug

TimP
8th October 2018, 07:23 PM
The thing about an AVO was that everyone had one, I’ve got s scope somewhere but not sure where, but I did find the leads the other week when rummaging about. Didn’t find what I was looking for though.

wornish
8th October 2018, 08:07 PM
I got a "low cost" multimeter off eBay a few years ago. The connection between one of the the leads and the end probe failed after about 3 uses. Managed to re-solder it together so it still works fine.

Made in China is not aways the best. Even though the vast majority if electronics are made there.

I always really needed an oscilloscope honest. (love old tech) *yes

TimP
8th October 2018, 08:16 PM
I still have all my resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc. etc. etc. all sorted and in little packets ready for use.

Why? ... I just don't like to get rid of them. *shrug

Me too, actually in a plastic case full of little red capped plastic pots set in foam, sold by RadioSpares as was. Got hundreds of the things and cmos ICs plus loads of 7400 series too, all kinds of crap really. Pity none of it is worth anything though! Resistors, caps, fuses, 7-segment displays, you name it.....

Jim Ford
8th October 2018, 09:29 PM
I had a Taylor meter which I thought was much better. I had that for years but eventually the meter movement failed by which time Taylor had disappeared and/or was unable to repair it. (I cannot remember which now.)

I've got an ex GPO moving coil multimeter (it may be a Taylor - I don't currently have it to hand). I got it off a stall in St Albans that used to sell surplus equipment cheap. The needle was stuck and I discovered that it was owing to a small piece of iron swarf on the magnet. I removed it with sellotape and it's been fine.

Moving coil meters are still useful for 'peaking'.

Jim

Jim Ford
8th October 2018, 09:31 PM
I still have all my resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc. etc. etc. all sorted and in little packets ready for use.

Why? ... I just don't like to get rid of them. *shrug

We could meet up and do 'swaps'!

;)

Jim

Naughty Nigel
8th October 2018, 10:02 PM
I've got an ex GPO moving coil multimeter (it may be a Taylor - I don't currently have it to hand). I got it off a stall in St Albans that used to sell surplus equipment cheap. The needle was stuck and I discovered that it was owing to a small piece of iron swarf on the magnet. I removed it with sellotape and it's been fine.

Moving coil meters are still useful for 'peaking'.

Jim

Moving coil meters are much nicer to use than digital. They might not be quite as accurate or as sensitive but they do everything that we want most of the time.

I also find that DMM's encourage over analysis where it isn't needed. Actually the high impedance of DMM's often results in erroneous results which wouldn't happen with a 20 KΩ/Volt analogue meter.

TimP
9th October 2018, 07:18 AM
I have to say I preferred to use an AVO having learnt my trade on them in the early days but when I went into field service you didn’t want to be lugging a model 8 anywhere. Still got the Fluke I used back in the 80s and 90s. Lugging a scope was bad enough.

Naughty Nigel
9th October 2018, 07:28 AM
I have to say I preferred to use an AVO having learnt my trade on them in the early days but when I went into field service you didnít want to be lugging a model 8 anywhere. Still got the Fluke I used back in the 80s and 90s. Lugging a scope was bad enough.

I bought a Fluke 87 around 1994 and had some odd problems with the display (out of warranty of course). Fluke supplied a new display but it would only work for a few weeks before the same thing happened again. It could have been the display driver but it was not something that I could change.

Fluke said they were unable (or unwilling) to repair it so I ended up buying a new 87 Mk 3 o a trade-in with a lifetime warranty which has so far worked perfectly.

TimP
9th October 2018, 08:14 AM
Just been and found mine, it’s a Fluke model 73. The cables are getting a bit stiffer but then it’s probably only been used once or twice in the last ten years. No real idea when it dates from though or even how I acquired it.