TWIT 810: In a Room With Oprah

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

@Leo Bloomberg spy chip story a misunderstanding: ex-GCHQ expert - 9to5Mac

Interesting, but ultimately not much of a takedown. Saying the sources “do not understand the issue” is a pretty weak refutation.

This new Bloomberg story had significant new information and even has convinced Bruce Schneier that he was wrong to dismiss it originally:

There’s lots of detail in the article, and I recommend that you read it through.

This is a follow on, with a lot more detail, to a story Bloomberg reported on in fall 2018. I didn’t believe the story back then…

I seem to have been wrong.

1 Like

I didn’t see that post by Schnier, he’s a pretty good source to substantiate it.

It is a difficult one. As @PadreSJ said on the show, it is plausible that this can be done; didn’t the NSA prove this by hijacking HP networking kit going to the USA’s allies and installing spyware on it, en-route a few years back?

The problem is, there is little to no proof, because the TLAs were allegedly using it to work out what the Chinese could do / to feed them false information. It sounds like it was also a targeted attack, providing mainboards to specific high-profile government, military and industry entities. That means that a majority of the boards out there probably won’t have any telltale changes that could be examined.

This is going to be incredibly hard to prove one way or the other, unless the TLAs actually provide some of the contaminated boards for inspection - and then, can you be sure that they were manipulated in China, before delivery or a custom board built by the TLA for propaganda purposes?

What is needed is a contaminated board, direct off the production line. And that probably ain’t going to happen.

So, we are back to it is theoretically possible, it possibly happened, the US TLAs put legitimate customers at risk by not informing them, if it did happen and the take away from this and Solar Winds is that we really can’t trust anything we didn’t make 100% ourselves.

1 Like

Wasn’t it Cisco kit they modifier. I know that Facebook might be problematic although not entirely convinced, but if you’re just using it as a chat platform then you’re probably OK.

My problem with BitCoin is that, in the beginning, I remember thinking “this won’t go anywhere” and now I still don’t. It seems too volatile to be a useful currency.

1 Like

A quick Google search shows me something that could be an alternative to Facebook. is a self-hosted social network or, at least, thats what it looks like. Does anyone have any knowledge of this platform?

Bitcoin is a terrible currency. People aren’t buying it to use as a currency. People are buying it because they don’t believe in the governments’ currency. As Leo said in the show the US dollar is tied to the full faith and credit of the US government. The US government is $27.9 trillion dollars in the whole and President Biden wants to add 1.9 trillion to that in just that one COVID spending bill. That doesn’t count anything else he wants to spend money on. Does anyone think the government is ever going to pay that back? I sure don’t.

That said I’m not going crazy on Bitcoin or anything else really. When the first Bitcoin bubble came up Glenn Beck told his audience to take the amount of money you would spend on a Friday night out and invest that in Bitcoin. So I did that and invested close to $200 and bought .02 bitcoin and just left it alone. Then a couple of months ago I found an animation studio that was doing a crowdfunding investment so I sold half my bitcoin investment and got my original $200 out and invested it in that. Also probably 10 years ago I bought an ounce of gold. It’s not much, but if one of those little things takes off then I’ll be happy. If they become worthless then it’s not going to hurt me anyway. And if something bad does happen to the dollar and my 401k I’ll have a little bit more than everyone else. Noone should go crazy and use money they can’t afford to lose and do these things with or worse borrow money to do it.

1 Like

Honestly I think people buy bitcoin because they imagine themselves getting insanely rich.

I don’t disagree with that in most cases. I don’t think that’s why Tesla is doing it though. Although if it gets to the point that everyone in Bitcoin is insanely rich then something bad has happened to the rest of the economy.