The PJ Tatler

US Navy gets punked by Chinese microchips


Last year, the U.S. Navy bought 59,000 microchips for use in everything from missiles to transponders and all of them turned out to be counterfeits from China.

Wired reports the chips weren’t only low-quality fakes, they had been made with a “back-door” and could have been remotely shut down at any time.


So the Chinese could have had kill switches on our missiles. Now why would they want that?

If left undiscovered the result could have rendered useless U.S. missiles and killed the signal from aircraft that tells everyone whether it’s friend or foe.

They could confuse ours and allied air forces too. Now why would they want that?

Here’s a thought: How about we stop buying military hardware from China.

Update: Wired’s report doesn’t quite say what Business Insider, my source here, says it says. Ya follow me on that? Wired actually says:

In 2010, the U.S. military had a problem. It had bought over 59,000 microchips destined for installation in everything from missile defense systems to gadgets that tell friend from foe. The chips turned out to be counterfeits from China, but it could have been even worse. Instead of crappy Chinese fakes being put into Navy weapons systems, the chips could have been hacked, able to shut off a missile in the event of war or lie around just waiting to malfunction.


So the chips the Navy actually bought didn’t have the kill switches. They were just cheap fakes, but this incident alerted the Navy that kill switch chips could have slipped through. Seems to me the logic of buying high tech hardware from countries that may not have our best interests at heart is still unsound, whichever crap chip the Navy bought.


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