China used tiny chips on US computers to steal secrets

Chinese spying microchips found in Apple, Amazon computers: report

Report: Amazon, And Apple Among Nearly 30 Firms Hit By China Chip Attack

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.

U.S. officials long have anxious about the potential for altered microchips or other components to be secretly inserted into products and shipped to the United States and elsewhere, opening doors to long-term spying on computer users and their information networks.

Super Micro Computer may have been the prime target in a hack allegedly carried out by the Chinese military. Meanwhile, Apple, Amazon Web Services and Super Micro Computer dispute the report.

The bigger issue is that attacks like this are hard to detect and prevent against, the report said.

Apple was one of Supermicro's major customers, with the Cupertino company at one point planning to order more than 30,000 servers from it for one of its data centers within a span of two years.

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If Bloomberg's report is accurate, the attack would be devastating for the United States and the companies involved; it means that China has built a window into the very guts of United States government and business. Bloomberg claims Amazon discovered them ahead of its 2015 acquisition of Elemental Systems and reported the chips to the Federal Bureau of Investigation before removing them all within a one-month period.

Apple added that it had repeatedly provided on the record facts to refute "virtually every aspect of Bloomberg's story relating to Apple".

"There is no truth" to claims in the story that Apple found malicious chips in its servers in 2015, the said in a statement.

"Over the course of the past year, Bloomberg has contacted us multiple times with claims, sometimes vague and sometimes elaborate, of an alleged security incident at Apple", the Apple statement reads.

"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", Super Micro's statement said.

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The US government on Wednesday warned that a hacking group widely known as cloudhopper, which Western cybersecurity firms have linked to the Chinese government, has launched attacks on technology service providers in a campaign to steal data from their clients.

If these spy chip allegations really did happen, why would Apple and Amazon deny it? We did not uncover any unusual vulnerabilities in the servers we purchased from Super Micro when we updated the firmware and software according to our standard procedures.

Many more details are in Bloomberg's report.

The company instead suggested that Bloomberg's sources may have been mistaking an incident in 2016 when an accidental vulnerability was found on a single Super Micro server inside the company. The claims in the report have been strongly disputed by the technology giants. In all, 17 people confirmed the manipulation of Supermicro's hardware and other elements of the attacks.

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