Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar, made some very provocative statements to Smithsonian Magazine that were released today. He is deeply concerned that computer viruses such as the Stuxnet used against the Iranian nuclear program can be planted in electronics equipment manufactured in China. To quote from the interview and make my point, it is a lengthy quote.
“Clarke claims, for instance, that the manufacturer of the F-35, our next-generation fighter-bomber, has been penetrated and F-35 details stolen. And don’t get him started on our supply chain of chips, routers and hardware we import from Chinese and other foreign suppliers and what may be implanted in them—“logic bombs,” trapdoors and “Trojan horses,” all ready to be activated on command so we won’t know what hit us. Or what’s already hitting us.
“My greatest fear,” Clarke says, “is that, rather than having a cyber-Pearl Harbor event, we will instead have this death of a thousand cuts. Where we lose our competitiveness by having all of our research and development stolen by the Chinese. And we never really see the single event that makes us do something about it. That it’s always just below our pain threshold. That company after company in the United States spends millions, hundreds of millions, in some cases billions of dollars on R&D and that information goes free to China….After a while you can’t compete.”