Originally Posted by PhotonFanatic
There's no way you're safer. You have to understand, there wasn't any mistake. ALL of the chip companies were told by the government, what they were going to do. They can't break encryption, it stays too far ahead of them. So they've stopped trying. Instead they just put in back doors, and bypass it entirely. Not only were all of these chipmakers told what to do, they were told if they talk about it, they're in big trouble. Not like it really matters because the information is out there (just like in this thread) but still, it would make the government look real bad if big tech was always talking about how they got told to put in security vulnerabilities. The good news is, there are some states that seem to be getting tired of this. There are some new bills coming up in Texas and California that are pretty pro privacy and anti scumbag when it comes to big tech and their constant spying. Hopefully they pass into law.
iirc there have been a few companies who have bypassed the gag order given to them by the government. I think apple was one of them. They had a web page where it said something like "Days passed since we were told help the government spy on our users: 0". Something like that, where they weren't technically breaking the law that was put into place to force them to comply with the government's spying wishes.
I wouldn't put it past them, and I really keep an open mind on this type of stuff but I am not at the level yet where I am ready to confidently say or go under the assumption that ALL major hardware companies likely have hardware backdoors; I just haven't seen enough proof yet. The government uses the same hardware we do for the most part, and as history has shown backdoors are exploitable by good guys or bad guys, I find it unlikely that they would want backdoors in all the hardware they use. That being said, I think that the day that hardware backdoors will be implemented into everything could be coming very soon. Like you said, the government seems to have given up on directly cracking encryption, now they use more direct methods.
Originally Posted by PhotonFanatic
Anyway if AMD is any "safer" its just because the particular backdoors haven't been found out yet. You can count on them being there, every bit as bad as intel. They're not going to go to such lengths with intel and the others, and then just conveniently forget about, and leave out AMD.
Well if AMD has any similar backdoors (which they very well could), they aren't known in the wild yet so baring any state actors I can rest assured that I am relatively safe of normal hackers from those attack vectors.
As far as Apple being backdoor free, I wouldn't trust them one bit. They have done shady stuff in the past to comply with anti-freedom governments just to make a quick buck. Realistically, there's probably less than 100 or so employees directly involved with the low level programming in the iPhone or similar products, it's not beyond the realm of possibility for the government to serve them all an NSL with a gag order saying something to the affect of "do this, implement this backdoor and if you talk about it you will go to jail for a very long time". The attack surface of their devices is massive as well. They make one device, one config for millions of users and they have every government and anti-freedom security research companies actively looking, creating and/or paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for known exploits. On the Android front, I expect that a few governments have Qualcom in their back pocket and have ring zero access to phones using Qualcom chips. There's a few articles I've read about just how vulnerable phones are due to being extremely insecure on the modem/firmware front. There's only a handful of people in the world that know/fully understand the code for the radio telephony/firmware used by cellphone base band modems, apparently according to experts some of this stuff uses 1980's technology and is ripe for exploitation.