Apple, Amazon, SuperMicro deny reports of Chinese microchip infiltration

08 October, 2018, 23:27 | Author: Regina Silva
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"The Department of Homeland Security is aware of the media reports of a technology supply chain compromise", the agency said.

A report published last week by Bloomberg Businessweek claimed that China had infiltrated servers of 30 U.S. companies, including Apple and Amazon.

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 (SMCI.PK) allowed for backdoor transmissions to China.

These servers were apparently purchased by Apple, Amazon and around 30 other companies, and also used by the USA and United Kingdom government - which could have given Beijing unprecedented access to corporate and state secrets. "On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server", it read. But the three companies featured in the story-Apple, Amazon, and Supermicro-have all issued broad and strongly worded denials.

A nothing burger or the year's biggest tech story?

"In the end, our internal investigations directly contradict every consequential assertion made in the article-some of which, we note, were based on a single anonymous source", Stathakopoulos wrote.

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Both Amazon and Apple strongly refute the story.

A senior security engineer directly involved in Apple's internal investigation described it as "endoscopic", noting they had never seen a chip like the one described in the story, let alone found one.

Amazon's denial, issued last Thursday, was also broad and unequivocal.

The US Department of Homeland Security also chimed in, stating that it is in agreement with the United Kingdom on this and has "no reason to doubt the statements" from companies named in the initial story.

Amazon responded that "at no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in Super Micro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems". But it remains unclear whether this was a photograph of an actual board or a digital recreation.

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