The news comes at a time when Chinese cyber-spying threats are a particular concern. Chinese telecom manufacturers ZTE and Huawei are already under investigation from the US government, which is assessing whether the duo’s telecom businesses pose a national security threat. The Cambridge researchers did not name the company that developed the chip tested, nor did they provide more specific details of its usage. The draft of the associated paper gave more details though. Firstly, the chip in question was a Actel/Microsemi ProASIC3 chip, a "military grade" FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) which has a 128-bit AES encryption key to protect its contents and configuration, the intellectual property (IP) of the chip programmer. The chip is not an "American military chip" but an off-the-shelf component used in a wide variety of applications, including US military applications, and its encryption capabilities are specifically designed to only protect the IP.
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