Apple, Amazon deny Bloomberg report about Chinese spy chips

Chinese spying microchips found in Apple, Amazon computers: report

Amazon subsidiary Amazon Web Services, which provides on-demand cloud computing platforms, was described in the Bloomberg story as having known about the malicious chips and working with the FBI to investigate the matter.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) denied a Bloomberg Businessweek report on Thursday that said their systems had been infiltrated by malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence agents. As for Super Micro, it denied that it introduced the chips during the manufacturing phase.

Some of the companies believed to have purchased the modified motherboards include Amazon and Apple.

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"One official says investigators found that it eventually affected nearly 30 companies, including a major bank, government contractors, and the world's most valuable company, Apple", write Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley.

The report cited 17 intelligence and corporate sources, who claimed that Chinese spies had also inserted chips inside equipment used by multiple United States government agencies, which could potentially give Beijing access to internal servers. "We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources".

Carrying out the attack involved "developing a deep understanding of a product's design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain to the desired location", it said. In September 2015, Amazon Web Services acquired Elemental for a reported $295 million.

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If this report is true, why would Amazon and Apple deny it?

"Apple has never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server", the company said. This level of hardware hacking would be borderline unprecedented in scope, and Bloomberg claims the FBI opened an investigation (after the incident was reported by Apple) that's still in progress three years later. "Additionally, we have not engaged in an investigation with the government".

"We are deeply disappointed that in their dealings with us, Bloomberg's reporters have not been open to the possibility that they or their sources might be wrong or misinformed". The Chinese government claimed to be "a resolute defender of cybersecurity" in statements to Bloomberg. Amazon disputes Bloomberg's report that the company took its findings to authorities, setting off alarm bells across the intelligence community as Supermicro has hundreds of government customers. The report claims that the investigation into the attack is still ongoing today.

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Beyond an infected driver discovered in 2016 on a single Supermicro server found in Apple Labs, Apple says that such claims are "inaccurate". No consumer data is known to have been stolen, Bloomberg said. "Over the course of the past year, Bloomberg has contacted us multiple times with claims.of an alleged security incident at Apple", the company said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

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