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[ISN] DHS: Imported Consumer Tech Contains Hidden Hacker Attack Tools
By Neal Ungerleider
July 8, 2011
A top Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official has admitted on the
record that electronics sold in the U.S. are being preloaded with
spyware, malware, and security-compromising components by unknown
foreign parties. In testimony before the House Oversight and Government
Reform Committee, acting deputy undersecretary of the DHS National
Protection and Programs Directorate Greg Schaffer told Rep. Jason
Chaffetz (R-UT) that both Homeland Security and the White House have
been aware of the threat for quite some time.
When asked by Rep. Chaffetz whether Schaffer was aware of any
foreign-manufactured software or hardware components that had been
purposely embedded with security risks, the DHS representative stated
that âI am aware of instances where that has happened,â after some
This supply chain security issue essentially means that, somewhere along
the line, technology being marketed in the United States was either
compromised or purposely designed to enable cyberattacks.
Schaffer, who has an extensive background in cybersecurity and
communications infrastructure management, did not elaborate on the
compromised tech that DHS has encountered. However, he did emphasize
that foreign components are found in many American-manufactured devices.
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