Producer ASML is hacked by Chinese government




Chinese state hackers have broken into the Dutch producer ASML. That report anonymous sources across Tweakers. The hackers in the attack possible information about high technology machines for chip captured.

ASML Multiple sources, who will not be named, confirm to Tweakers that the hack was carried out by Chinese government hackers. It should be noted that hacking attacks are difficult to trace. The attack would have focused on the Dutch branch of the company, though according to one source also attacked the French branch of the company. ASML wants to confirm the news of Tweakers nor deny. “We never comment on individual security issues,” said a spokesman.

It is not clear when the company was precisely the target of the Chinese government hackers. According to one source, the company has this year been the target of the hack, but according to another source that was last year. It is not entirely clear how great was the impact of the hack. According to one interpretation, which is supported by two independent sources, the impact is large, and there are potentially sensitive documents stolen – although that is not certain. However, according to another source is the impact with, and it is unlikely that the state hackers had something to the stolen documents.

The hack was part of a wave of attacks on European technology companies of a group which relate security to the Chinese government. The FBI and several Dutch and international security companies have investigated the attack. The researchers attribute the attack to a Chinese hacker group that earlier in the US and Europe business networks penetrated. It concerns likely to PLA Unit 61486, Chinese hacking unit according to security companies struck years tech companies. Among them were European organizations in the field of aerospace and satellite technology.

ASML made machines for chip production. The company from Veldhoven is the clear market leader in this field and customers of the company include Samsung, Intel and TSMC. The company is the central link in maintaining Moore’s law and thus the progress of the faster, more efficient and cheaper chips.

According to one source in the attack information on the operation of EUV technology captured. EUV technology is used for the latest generation of lithography machines. Currently, the small details on chips by means of lithography using light having a wavelength of 193 nm arranged. In order to make chips with even smaller details, the newest machines from ASML with extreme ultraviolet, with a wavelength of 13,5nm. The technology for making the EUV machines is very valuable for ASML, and thus for the tech industry. Chip manufacturers like Samsung, GlobalFoundries and TSMC for their future chip products to a large extent dependent on ASML.

Last week it was announced that the French-Dutch Gemalto is cracked. Concerned were not Chinese government hackers, but the intelligence GCHQ and NSA. Services would have to steal the encryption keys of SIM cards. Gemalto denies himself that the services have succeeded, though critics doubt that claim.


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