Interview Press Kit

John Ellis: Author and Technologist


Fake microprocessors on F-15 fighters, counterfeit Cisco network components, and Trojan chips that could have been used to shut down US missile systems—bogus semiconductors from China are making their way into our defense and consumer products. These phony parts pose a risk to our national security, our economy, and jobs. Always-on social networks giving access to our everyday phones and tablets provide a convenient route for communication with these chips.


As semiconductor manufacturing continues its migration to Asia, the issue of chip security is growing more pronounced. New, cost-reducing technology being developed for chip packaging makes detection of “extra” chips nearly impossible. Government-sponsored projects, now focusing making secure parts within hostile territories, won’t begin to address consumer systems. The real, long-term solution is to bring high-tech manufacturing back to the United States.


John spent twelve years in national security and another ten as an executive in the semiconductor industry. His book Dormant Curse uses fiction to paint a credible story of what can happen if the problem of counterfeit and Trojan chips isn’t dealt with soon. Learn more about the book at:



Is your smartphone’s data really secure? Is there any truth to rumors about Trojan chips being slipped into your iPad to track you, steal your passwords, or control it? Can my favorite social network be passing on information about me or hacked commands to these chips? Anyone who has ever had these concerns will be interested in what John Ellis has to tell us about new security issues in electronics being manufactured in China. New technologies, developed for miniaturization and cost reduction, have the side-detriment of allowing “extra” circuitry to be put into your favorite gadgets. How did we get into this predicament, and is there any solution on the horizon?



Counterfeit and Trojan chips from China and their impact on National Security

As more counterfeit chips are making it into our defense and consumer systems, their very operation is put in jeopardy. Trojan chips, which add in “extra” circuitry, are even more deadly, with the potential to steal data or even control a system (including smartphones and tablets). New technologies and standards are making it almost impossible to detect tampered chips.


The migration of high-tech manufacturing from the US to Asia, is there any going back?

Over the past few decades, the manufacturing of electronics has steadily been transferred to Asia, increasingly so after the turn of the century. There are a number of causes for this phenomenon and specific remedies for the problem, but it requires our government to take specific action.


Suggested QUESTIONS for John

  • What are Trojan chips and how are they different from counterfeit chips and why should I care?
  • Are Trojan chips really a problem? How big of an issue is this?
  • Chips have been made in Asia for decades, why is this now a problem?
  • Surely the government is aware of the problem of Trojan chips, what are they doing to combat the issue?
  • Even without bogus chips from China, if so many semiconductors are being made in Asia, what happens to our supply in a time of war?
  • What about “low-tech” manufacturing, is it just the high-tech that the public should be concerned over? Or are there security issues with what has historically been deemed “low-tech?”
  • How could social networks be used to communicate with these Trojan chips?
  • Why can’t virus and Trojan software detection programs take care of this problem?


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Contact: Jennifer Ellis,, (512) 608-5623


Media Contact

Jennifer Ellis

(512) 608-5623

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