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back to article Oz defence department: We don't have a ban on Lenovo kit

The Australian Department of Defence has issued an official statement denying it banned the use of Lenovo computers over concerns they contained backdoor vulnerabilities. A report from the Australian Financial Review last weekend claimed that the ban applied to top secret networks run by the intelligence and defence services of …

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Silver badge

A small backwoods company?

"We have not received word of any sort of a restriction of sales so we are not in a position to respond to this question, ..."

Can someone send them a copy of the Australian Financial Review from last weekend?

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Anonymous Coward

The AFR article had no specifics, nothing that a security expert would even accept as "hearsay." At this point there is ZERO specific evidence. Given the current atmosphere of dishonesty surrounding the US security services, I am inclined to ignore the whole of the AFR article until some specific vulnerability has been disclosed.

Oh - other than UEFI backdoors, of course, and Lenovo is one of the few brands whose BIOSes can still be switched to Legacy mode, and run fine with legacy OS, such as Windoze XP. Seems like the pot calling the kettle black, to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Denial? What denial?

In no way does:

"This reporting is factually incorrect. There is no Department of Defence ban on the Lenovo Company or their computer products; either for classified or unclassified systems. "

contradict:

"an Australian Department of Defence spokesman confirmed that Lenovo kit had “never been accredited” for such networks."

Look again.

A denial would be something along the lines of:

"The story is incorrect. The Lenovo Company and their computer products are fully DoD accredited for integration at all levels of classified and unclassified systems. "

...which clearly will never be said. What was said reads more like some sort of face saving distancing exercise honed from a tacit acknowledgement.

Methinks someone at Vulture South needs to brush up on his Disingenuese.

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Big Brother

The nausiating smell of FUD

The AFR article smells of yet more western spook FUD to me, along with a side helping of pro-'Merkin, anti-Chinese trade FUD; succinctly summed up as "don't buy Lenovo, buy Dell and HP instead", or "don't buy no stinkin' commie back-doored kit, buy good ol' 'Merkin back-doored kit instead". Ah, the hypocrisy...

AC posted 03:31, has an interesting point about Lenovo allowing legacy mode BIOS instead of UEFI.

Oh, and does anyone else find the expression "Five Eyes" just a little too Orwellian for comfort? Or is it an accurate expression of reality?

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Bronze badge

Re: The nausiating smell of FUD

Re: Five Eyes

Actually, Shelob came to mind first...

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Anonymous Coward

I still recon this Back door was just copied by Lenovo when they got the designs from IBM as IBM installed the back door for the powers that be in the US

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Anonymous Coward

Yup. My money's on AMT not (U)EFI too. AMT is unashamedly designed for exactly this purpose after all. The only "problem" re. Lenovo is a change in control of the manufacturer's (undocumented) keys.

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In Canada...

My understanding is that in Canada, departmental policies state that no PCs or PC operating systems are permitted for Level 3 secure (Top Secret) and above and must be separated from non-classified systems by a minimum of 2m to ensure no data is leaked by EMI. Additionally, the networks that carry the data must be fibre-optic from end to end.

No classified on Intel, no classified on copper.

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Lenovo is more than just Thinkpad

Lenovo was a big maker of PCs before they bought the PC division of Big Blue. Basically, they kept the Thinkpad line going with very change (I still use them and can't see much difference in quality), but they have a whole hell of a lot of other kit which they have always designed(?) and built themselves.

It strikes me that the date on the original "Five Eyes" doc refer back to the time not long after they hoovered up the Thinkpad line and probably have more to do with things found in their existing lines and the paranoid spooks own imagination than anything that was actually found in the kit.

Not to say they weren't quite correct in being wary, but just because it was a big deal 7 years ago does not mean to say it is still a big deal now.

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