Today we are going to share the result of a bit of investigation that started a few months ago on STH. The short version, it appears as though the Dell EMC S5200-ON series switches, the company’s high-end 25GbE-200GbE switches, have license/ royalty stickers that have a different company name on them than they should have. Instead of saying “American Megatrends”, they instead said “American Megatrands”. To give some perspective, this looks strange because it would be like buying a Dell notebook and getting a “Macrosoft Wandows” license sticker on it.[…]
Through a fairly rough October, we validated that indeed these stickers are in the wild. Ultimately, after we brought their existence to American Megatrends (AMI) and Dell’s attention (HPE did not care enough to investigate), we now have an artifact that says that American Megatrends is honoring the license stickers and will not pursue legal action against Dell’s customers or those using them.
This may seem like something insignificant and innocuous, but supply chain security is a big, big deal, and the fact these clearly misspelled license/royalty stickers made their way from printing down to the end-user of not just corporate hardware but supercomputers for the US military is… Concerning, to say the least. It shows that tampering with hardware anywhere between production of the individual chips and components down to delivery by the delivery person might be a lot easier to do than we think.