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What Does AMD’s Graphics IP Theft Mean For The Company

What Does AMD’s Graphics IP Theft Mean For The Company

Rohit Yadav
AMD

AMD recently unveiled that its graphics IP was stolen by a hacker and was hosted online on the world’s largest developer community, GitHub. However, the company quickly reacted and forced the host to take it down through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown policy. The graphic processor was believed to be a part of Xbox Series X, thereby drawing concern from gamers and experts alike.

Although the scale of the hack is not known to the company, it is working closely with the law enforcement officials and other experts as a part of the ongoing criminal investigation.

Security Breach 

While the company did not release the actual date of the hack, it mentioned that a hacker got in touch with AMD in December 2019, and claimed the breach of test files related to a subset of current and future graphics products.



However, the company never released a statement based on the claims. It was only when the codes were hosted on GitHub that the company made it public. AMD, in the statement, mentioned that data security and protection of its intellectual property is a priority, and it is aware that the perpetrator has additional files that were not made public. Hence, the firm has raised a criminal offence and is leaving no stone unturned to find the hacker.

AMD also assured that the stolen ‘graphics IP’ is not core to the competitiveness or security of graphic products. The hackers got hold of the codes from Verilog files that are used in the construction of processors. But as per experts, the code represents single and isolated functions of the GPU and not the whole blueprint. Besides, it is not a complete source code, thereby, one cannot build and design a GPU using it, even with reverse engineering. If that is the case, competitors will not gain any advantages from the leaded algorithms. 

However, the assessment is based on the code that was hosted online. The hacker might have more files that are not made public yet. This might be legit as the hacker has demanded $100 million, according to a report. Besides, TorrentFreak has reported that the hacker has warned AMD to host other codes and files online if left unsold

Business Impact

The hacking news has come amid AMD making a comeback in the market from where it was in 2014 — on the verge of bankruptcy. AMD’s stocks were trading at $3 and were heading to an all-time low. However, Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, took the helm in 2014 and turned things around for AMD in the last five years.

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However, news like these can only negatively impact the trust it has gained over the last five years, especially in the gaming industry. AMD is being used in some of the most popular gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation. Now, with the alleged leak of AMD’s Navi 10, Navi 21, and Arden GPUs, it could afflict its brand value. Besides, it can also impact its use in the cloud gaming industry where AMD has become a preferred GPU provider for Google Stadia, Microsoft, and more. 

Outlook

Going by the experts and AMD, it seems the hacker does not have anything substantial that could in any way impact the firm’s business. Although AMD speculated that the hacker might not have critical information, since the company is not sure about how the hacker got hold of the files in the first place, it is difficult to estimate the sensitivity of the information that the hacker has gathered. 

Since the stocks did not take the hit post the revelation of the breach, it seems there is no damage done. But, it would be interesting to see further developments in the case as the hacker has forewarned of hosting the code online.

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