Feeds

China ponders ban on IBM servers

Report says Middle Kingdom worried Big Blue boxen bring big backdoors

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

The dispute between China and the USA over backdoor-riddled information technology equipment has just heated up, with Bloomberg reporting Chinese authorities are wondering whether the time has come for local banks to ditch their IBM servers.

The newswire's report mentions “high-end” servers and suggests Chinese authorities “are reviewing whether Chinese commercial banks’ reliance on the IBM servers compromises the country’s financial security.”

As is the often the case with Chinese government policies, this one needs some deep consideration, not least because if banks are using “high-end” servers that suggests either POWER systems or mainframes are in China's sights. Banking applications written for either platform are generally very tightly coupled to hardware. Ordering Chinese users to find alternatives – either with new hardware or by porting software to another operating system - would not be something most could accomplish in a hurry.

China surely knows this and that any order to change would be futile for at least a few months. Such an order would also telegraph to the USA or other powers the need to find another attack vector.

Might China therefore be taking aim at an American icon? IBM's hardware division is not in rude health. Even the mere suggestion Big Blue is in cahoots with US authorities won't make it any easier to shift boxes, making life harder for IBM at a time it needs to be fighting off spookware allegations like it needs a hole in the head.

Yet the mere suggestion China is interested in kicking IBM when it is down is useful, as a muscle-flexing exercise in which Beijing tells Washington it can hurt US industry with the stroke of a pen. And what balanced pension fund wouldn't have some IBM stock in its portfolio?

Bloomberg says the review of IBM kit is ongoing and will eventually land on the desk of president Xi Jinping. Will he twist the knife? Or will president Obama blink? Stay tuned for another exciting episode of “The Snowden Fallout”, here sometime soon on The Vulture Channel. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.