Feeds

China ponders ban on IBM servers

Report says Middle Kingdom worried Big Blue boxen bring big backdoors

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
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
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.