China avoids questions about Apple, Amazon chip hack report

Lloyd Doyle
October 8, 2018

In a statement released Saturday, the DHS said that it was "aware" of the report, but added: "Like our partners in the United Kingdom, the National Cyber Security Centre, at this time we have no reason to doubt the statements from the companies named in the story".

The Bloomberg story, which cites 17 unnamed sources including three at Apple and four United States officials, claimed that the microchips were placed onto motherboards in Chinese factories subsequently assembled into servers by Supermicro.

Apple Vice President for Information Security George Stathakopoulos wrote in a letter to the Senate and House commerce committees that the company had repeatedly investigated and found no evidence for the main points in a Bloomberg Businessweek article published on Thursday, including that chips inside servers sold to Apple by Super Micro Computer Inc allowed for backdoor transmissions to China.

Both Apple and Amazon denied the article's claims on Thursday, writing that the reporting was inaccurate and that they had never been affected by malicious chips. Apple originally said that it "conducted rigorous internal investigations based on [Bloomberg's] inquiries and each time we have found absolutely no evidence to support any of them". "Apple has never found malicious chips, 'hardware manipulations, ' or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server".


Stathakopoulos added that if "any of the reported details" were true, Apple would have been upfront about the potential supply-chain attack. Bloomberg said the investigation was "top secret" and that it stood by the article.

Stathakopoulos also reiterated over the weekend that Apple had not been contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the issue. "Nothing was ever found", he wrote. That's a narrower denial than the ones Apple and Amazon put out last week, but it still seems to bolster the companies' claims. DHS said they have no reason to doubt them or believe otherwise.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement on the explosive claims made by Bloomberg Newsweek about Apple, Amazon, and other tech giants using compromised Supermicro servers with Chinese spy chips for their cloud services. But it remains unclear whether this was a photograph of an actual board or a digital recreation.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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