Paranoid about being backdoored?

What is the realistic view on backdoors/spyware in the hardware of tech like pcs? As a regular person should I worry about china or the us trying to spy on me through these backdoors?

Specific Example:
I own a minisforum mini pc and I’ve been very paranoid lately that China or some other entitiy have been spying on me for whatever reason. I’m just worried about any of the firmware/hardware being compromised. (Company and manufacturing based in China).

The brand itself and market (mini pcs) is small so I’m not confident that it would pose a significant incentive to prioritize spying/backdooring these pcs. I also cant find any data revolving around security/privacy breaches with the company (but that doesn’t really mean a lot as I’m assuming its getting looked into a lot like a huge tech company would be)

Should I be this paranoid about being spied on? Or should I stay calm with the fact that I’m an average person that doesn’t (afaik) have anything willing to spy on for?


The CPU is AMD and the WIFI adapter is AMD as well. The motherboard is some proprietary brand (some Chinese name, this has me worried the most). The chipset and bridge are both AMD and the LPCIO is Nuvoton. The bios is American Megatrends. I bought it barebones for like $200 (no RAM, no SSD) and I installed my own RAM and SSD with a new install of windows.

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There’s nothing to do about a potential backdoor. The device either has a backdoor or it doesn’t. And if you can’t tell, then there’s no point in worrying about it.

Just incase you do not trust the software packaged by the OEM, you can remove it and replace it with an unmodified installation of Windows etc.

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i did the pc came barebones (no ssd or ram). I fresh installed windows.
Why do you mention no point in worrying about it?

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Because there’s nothing to do unless you have proof of malfeasance.

You either trust the OEM has not shipped a backdoor or won’t do that in a future firmware update. If you can’t trust the OEM not to do any of these things, then no point in using the device.


This sucks because this is my only option and I really need this to work. With the motherboard being the only propriertary software (the rest of the hardware listed in cpu-z is from reptuable manufactures, I assume the motherboard is proprietary because the pc is unorthodox in size (not sold by any reputable vendors) and me not noticing anything suspicious like running programs in the software after fresh install of windows. Is this something I should worry about in YOUR own OPINION?

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I wouldn’t worry about it. It would be a lot of effort to put in a hardware backdoor to get information about people who they don’t care about.


Just to clarify this is a chinese company/manufactuer do you still have the same sentiment?

Also what do you mean by a lot of effort? Isnt just as simple as taking the chip and soldering it into the board and having some type of infrastructure in place to communicate with all the chips?

I also mentioned this to the other guy, but In specific if there is a hardware backdoor do they use it automatically regardless of who it is or only strategically when its someone like a government agency ( I dont have anyone trying to target me or for any reason from what im aware of)

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There is basically zero chance you’re special enough to merit burning a backdoor on.


If you really want to investigate backdoors, you need to learn and study about Wireshark to listen to the outgoing connections made by your computers.

But right now, I feel that you are excessively being paranoid beyond what is reasonable.

Sure surveillance is scary but it has to scale and people still have to analyze the actual content. People on the payroll and on the clock. That has a cost attached to it and eventually has to come to an accountant that checks whether it is worth or not because surveillance state can siphon Petabytes of data on the internet daily but it doesnt mean anything - its all noise. You want a clear signal that is actionable for the evil state otherwise all this is a waste of time, effort and money and the evil state doesnt want to waste money it can corrupt and put into the pockets of politicians instead.

Either you are worth it or not because these backdoors are a paid resource as well. Backdoors arent cheap. They are either made by a state sponsored hacking group or purchased by on a vulnerability platform. And these exploits are on a countdown as well, because fame-hungry security researchers are out to get them and vendors are out to patch them making them more rare. These are all use-once and will be burned.

Dont forget when you surveil the abyss of humanity, that the abyss stares back. We are also watching them.

So yeah, chill, unless you have significant influence to others.


Hi there l778cx, I’m having the same problem as you…

I keep thinking “What’s the point of running a 100% secure OS and only installing secure Apps if there’s a hardware backdoor in the motherboard or some other component I’m using?”

If it helps you, we’ve come up with some solutions in this thread I made:

You do know that reputable manufacturers like Intel or AMD have well-known backdoors directly inside the firmware, don’t you? The next question is why you think you are so important that some governmental agency will have those activated especially for you.

Intel ME and AMD PSP are not “backdoors” unless you’re really far down the conspiracy rabbithole; these “backdoors” are under some of the greatest scrutiny they could possibly be because of how powerful ME and PSP are and nothing akin to a bona fide backdoor has been found in them so far.


Of course they are, by definition of what a backdoor is – Backdoor (computing) - Wikipedia.

these “backdoors” are under some of the greatest scrutiny

Scrutiny by who? Those who suggest monitoring out-of-band remote controls by using Wireshark? :joy:

nothing akin to a bona fide backdoor has been found in them so far

The line of argumentation you are trying to build is flawed:

  1. You can’t know whether something was found or not, let alone what exactly resides inside proprietary and heavily obfuscated firmware. You can only know what was reported.
  2. The facilities like Intel AMT can function as backdoors by itself, there is no need for anything hidden in there. It doesn’t matter that their intended purpose is not malicious.
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oh noes the spooky scary enterprise management!! literally going to invade your privacy and stop you watching porn at work!!!1

As for the rest, I wonder if I should trust random bloggers who push conspiracies or security researchers who have done talks on things they’ve found in ME and PSP, and the vulnerabilities that were responsibly disclosed.

That said, it is true to say since it’s proprietary and obfuscated it’s hard to truly “prove” that it’s not a backdoor (beyond what is built and intentionally designed as such for enterprise use) but you would think that either cybercriminals would make more use of the backdoor features or even just find the backdoor in the first place, so we can pretty safely deduce that it’s not likely those hypothetical features are there or if they are, they are saved for only the highest value of targets so as to not reveal their existence to anyone but the spooky scary feds.


I’d appreciate if you spare me from remarks like this. I know what enterprise management is and, moreover, why it’s irrelevant here. Don’t assume you are wiser than someone.

Trust? Ha-ha. Excellent point. Obviously, your choice is to trust something you cannot verify. For some reason, you want to make this look like a decent approach to security.

I can’t advise you on trusting random bloggers as I don’t read random bloggers. Neither I engage in wishful thinking.

As I already noted, its intended purpose doesn’t matter. It’s not for enterprises to use them as backdoors.

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Is this really true?

I thought the new Intel CPUs had inbuilt security to prevent backdoors?

I’m really struggling to find a safe solution for building a new PC Tower… :cry:

Guys, hardware backdoors or zero days are too precious to spend on average people. Besides, there will always be zero days which are way cheaper than hardware back doors. While most governments can leverage zero days, hardware back doors are only available to few governments.

If you are on this forum and discussing about these issues, believe you are not a person of interest on this level.


I appreciate your reply!

If you can’t give names of hardware PC brands that are 100% safe, can you please list the hardware brands or PC component brands that are safer?

Obviousy except for Apple, are there some PC hardware component brands that are safer?

Probably you aren’t a target. Just buy original. Paranoid? Get some help.