Today Bloomberg published an article about a newly discovered hardware trojan found on Supermicro boards. The article is titled "The Big Hack". Unfortunately the article was not very specific about how the trojan chip operates. It says only that it modifies data being held in "temporary buffers" holding memory destined for the CPU. This might refer to buffered ECC memory chips or maybe something else. There are a lot of possibilities.

Also, the article does not indicate how being able to intercept instructions to the CPU would allow it to transmit data from the device.

Another vague aspect of the article is that it says the trojan chip "modifies the operating system core". I assume by this they are referring to a Linux kernel. I can guess at how such a chip might do this, but does anyone have any more specific information on how the mechanism works exactly?

closed as too broad by StackzOfZtuff, schroeder Oct 11 '18 at 8:22

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    I propose to close this question. There are some serious doubts about the information contained in the article and official statements from the affected parties dispute the information, to cite: "We are deeply disappointed that in their dealings with us, Bloomberg’s reporters have not been open to the possibility that they or their sources might be wrong or misinformed.". Insofar everything should be considered speculation only which is not a useful base to get more details. – Steffen Ullrich Oct 4 '18 at 15:40
  • I would argue that the question should remain open, and that @SteffenUllrich's comment that we have no confirmation be added as an answer. Future individuals may have the same question, and Steffen's answer would be useful to them. – user52472 Oct 4 '18 at 16:48
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    @user52472: there is only a single source of information (bloomberg) and this source does not provide any details. And in fact it is openly said by the affected parties that the source is wrong in the first place (they don't say that the information are slightly inaccurate, the say that none of this is true). Given that a) no details are known and b) any claims (which don't have details) are not unlikely to be wrong - how can a question which asks about the details held back by or not known to the single source even be answered? – Steffen Ullrich Oct 4 '18 at 17:16
  • My argument would be that the accepted answer to the question should be "we don't know that the Bloomberg report is accurate." I see that answer as being more informative, and better at fighting misinformation, than just leaving the question unanswered. – user52472 Oct 4 '18 at 17:21
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    There is an in-depth technical analysis what it might be at servethehome.com: in summary - if it is true at all it is most likely the BMC which would be no worse than other known problems in this area. But there are several things which suggest that the whole story is fake or at least the main issues are widely misinterpreted. – Steffen Ullrich Oct 4 '18 at 20:16

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