Can anything involving technology be completely ruled out? It probably can’t be by those who are not experts in the field. To paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, for far too many, technology is sufficiently advanced so that it is indistinguishable from magic.
The same cannot be said for experts. In the case of Bloomberg’s mysterious spy chips, few experts have sounded off on the matter until now. Part of the reason for the delay in reaction is that it takes a while for true experts to examine the claims and consider all the possibilities.
The experts at STH have taken the time to do a deep dive into the matter. It serves no one to ignore a major threat. Spying on the level Bloomberg suggests is a new kind of major threat that could shift the balance of power if true. The first thing to determine with a story heavily dependent on tech claims is if it is indeed possible, and if possible, is it plausible.
Experts are careful not to denounce anything as impossible. But in the strongest possible terms they can responsibly express, STH deems the spy chip story extremely implausible, if not practically impossible.
“The key here is that the companies named are all sophisticated, and will have better protections than your average small to medium enterprise. Bloomberg’s report describes an attack that is not possible at the companies listed in the article.”
The deep dive is full of language like the above quote. The article is very detailed and technical. It leaves little room for doubt. What little room there is will be in the fact that there are precious few details in the Bloomberg story to begin with. But what details there are have been not only refuted by all parties mentioned but now are cast as little more than highly implausible fantasies. STH said the following in their closing thoughts.
“We are at an impasse at this point. In this article, we have shown why the technical details of the Bloomberg alleged hack are inaccurate and/or implausible. These technical details were offered to Bloomberg through anonymous sources, so we have no way of doing further fact-checking. We showed why, even if a chip can be produced and placed it would not work as Bloomberg reports.”
There is little more to be said on this matter. It has been denied by the company selling the servers. It has been denied by all the customers of the server named in the piece. It has been denied by multiple government agencies on two continents. It was publicly doubted by one of the named sources. And it has been deemed practically impossible by experts. Bloomberg has shown little interest in followup.