Published: Fri, October 05, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Apple, Amazon deny Bloomberg report claiming cyber attack by Chinese spies

Apple, Amazon deny Bloomberg report claiming cyber attack by Chinese spies

A CHINESE SUPPLY CHAIN ATTACK infiltrated servers used by almost 30 companies, including Apple, Amazon and United States government contractors, according to a blockbuster report from Bloomberg Businessweek. Essentially, the microchips provided Chinese spies a secret passageway into the networks of nearly 30 companies. Hardware hacks like this are incredibly hard to pull off, though when done right, it provides the hackers with an invaluable amount of information. They were found in servers assembled by a Chinese company called Super Micro, and could've been subject to a secret U.S. government investigation that began in 2015. One source explains that the company is the "Microsoft of the hardware world"-its motherboards are used in servers around the world".

While the news agency says Apple and Amazon found the chips in servers as long ago as 2015, the two corporate giants deny the claim that the presence of the chips was anything more than a manufacturing mistake.

At no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems. Its statement said: "While we would cooperate with any government investigation, we are not aware of any investigation regarding this topic nor have we been contacted by any government agency in this regard".

Apple, which Bloomberg reported was also compromised by the microchips, denied this report as well. "Apple has never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server", the company said.

As a matter of practice, before servers are put into production at Apple they are inspected for security vulnerabilities and we update all firmware and software with the latest protections.

"We are not aware of any customer dropping Super Micro as a supplier for this type of issue".

Super Micro also rejected Bloomberg's reporting. One affected company had its servers used by USA government clients, including Department of Defense data centers, Navy warships and the Central Intelligence Agency in its drone operations. The 2015 incident reportedly sparked an ongoing, top-secret federal investigation, which so far has revealed "the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines", Businessweek reports.

Early this morning, Bloomberg published an exposé regarding security matters at data centers belonging to both Amazon and Apple.

Apple, AWS and Super Micro dispute the report.

Amazon, for its part, was equally firm about the issue.

The report claims that six current and former national security officials let slip the details on the investigation and its implications.

In addition to the three Apple insiders, four of the six US officials confirmed that Apple was a victim.

In total, 17 people are said to have confirmed the story - three of which are claimed to be Apple "insiders".

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