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The Risks Digest

Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems

ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator

How China Weaponized the Global Supply Chain (National Review)

Peter G. Neumann <>
Mon, 5 Aug 2019 18:17:12 PDT

... the introduction of Chinese cyber-capabilities, including the
installation of digital networks at Chinese-controlled sites, typically by
Huawei, and a subsea cable network being built by Huawei's marine unit that
will nearly encircle the globe by the end of this year. Chinese state-owned
companies are leading a rapid, digitally enabled consolidation of the
logistics sector—bringing together supply-chain functions that had
previously been performed by separate companies, adopting centralized IT
systems to control distribution from the doors of factories in China to the
doors of consumers in America, and developing a wide array of technologies
that can be used for both commercial and military purposes.

The most threatening aspect of China's commercial triad is that the physical
network of ports, ships, and terminals serves as a force multiplier for
China's cyber-aggression. From drones that monitor operations to
facial-recognition technologies that control access to container yards, port
facilities provide nearly perfect cover for cyber-espionage. There's a lot
going on in a seaport, and all of it is controlled and monitored by
technology that feeds information over digital networks to buyers, sellers,
regulators, financial institutions, and transportation companies. In short,
ports are power. Power over imports and exports, power over
economic-development policies, construction, shipbuilding, land transport,
and electricity grids—and power over the digital information needed to
move goods through global supply chains that originate in China and
Southeast Asia. These critical supply lines have increasingly come under the
influence or control of a handful of Chinese state-owned companies.  [...]

  [Monty Solomon noted this item:
    Official Cybersecurity Review Finds U.S. Military Buying High-Risk
    Chinese Tech (Forbes)

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