Apple, Amazon, SuperMicro deny reports of Chinese microchip infiltration

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On Thursday, Bloomberg Businessweek claimed that tiny spy chips were secretly installed in servers of nearly 30 American companies, including a major bank, government contractors and Apple and Amazon.

Given that this story is too huge to just sweep under the rug, denials came in swiftly from both Amazon and Apple.

Apple Inc. told United States lawmakers that its servers weren't compromised and sought to assure them that the company's global supply chain is secure. The chips were said to have allowed secret access to internal networks. "On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server", it read. "You should know that Bloomberg provided us with no evidence to substantiate their claims and our internal investigations concluded their claims were simply wrong".

"We tried to figure out if there was anything, anything, that transpired that's even remotely close to this", a senior Apple security executive told BuzzFeed News. "We never alerted the FBI to any security concerns like those described in the article, nor has the FBI ever contacted us about such an investigation", Stathakopoulos wrote.

The Department of Homeland Security is aware of the media reports of a technology supply chain compromise. 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. As a result, they're warning organizations to ensure they have the right defenses in place, as Apple says it does.

Apple's recently retired general counsel, Bruce Sewell, told Reuters he called the FBI's then-general counsel James Baker past year after being told by Bloomberg of an open investigation into Super Micro Computer Inc, a hardware maker whose products Bloomberg said were implanted with malicious Chinese chips.

"I got on the phone with him personally and said, 'Do you know anything about this?", Sewell told Reuters. Since publication, however, the companies involved have forcefully pushed back.

Apple has also supplied a letter to US Congress at this point, stating that no evidence was found to support claims of tampered motherboards. A DHS denial certainly adds another twist to this story, though it remains to be seen whether under all the smoke, there was an actual fire.



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