US adds seven Chinese supercomputing entities to economic blacklist

The US Department of Commerce added today seven Chinese supercomputing entities to the US economic blacklist for assisting Chinese military efforts.

According to a department press release, the seven entities include:

The US said the entities are involved in activities ""contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States,"" such as building supercomputers used by the Chinese military and working on weapons of mass destruction.

Supercomputing capabilities are vital for the development of many – perhaps almost all – modern weapons and national security systems, such as nuclear weapons and hypersonic weapons.

US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo

Once on the Department of Commerce economic blacklist, US organizations will need special licenses to interact with the seven entities.

The department said ""the availability of most license exceptions is limited,"" suggesting that US organizations will be allowed to interact with the sanctioned entities only under special circumstances.

This will most likely prevent the Chinese organizations from buying parts needed to develop new supercomputers or keep systems up and running, as some parts may be exclusively available from US-based suppliers only.

""The 'entity list' has been used by the Department of Commerce since 2015 when President Obama implemented similar sanctions on PLA supercomputing institutions,"" Charity Wright, Cyber Threat Intelligence Expert on China at Recorded Future, told The Record today.

""It appears that the US government is doing everything possible to ensure that US-made parts and technology will not contribute China's advanced weapons systems or military technology,"" Wright added.

""China has been and still is determined to work around these types of sanctions.""

Previously, the US also blacklisted smartphone maker Huawei, electronics maker ZTE, chipmaker SMIC, and drone manufacturer DJI, under similar accusations.

In March 2021, academics at Georgetown University published a report revealing that several Chinese universities known to have cooperated with Chinese state-sponsored hacking groups were now conducting extensive research on the intersection of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Catalin Cimpanu

Catalin Cimpanu is a cybersecurity reporter for The Record. He previously worked at ZDNet and Bleeping Computer, where he became a well-known name in the industry for his constant scoops on new vulnerabilities, cyberattacks, and law enforcement actions against hackers.

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