Friday, 19 October, 2018

Intel community shudders with discovery of Chinese spy chips

Logo light box of the Apple store located on the Huaihai Apple says its"deeply disappointed in Bloomberg. Zhang Peng
Lindsey Cook | 05 October, 2018, 08:40

Along with claiming that their servers were never compromised by Chinese intelligence agents, both companies also denied any involvement in a secret Federal Bureau of Investigation probe.

In unusually robust on the record statements, the two trillion dollar tech companies said they know nothing about Chinese spies planting rice grain-sized microchips in hardware that reached 30 major American companies. "We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources".

Apple's response attempts to address almost every point of Bloomberg's report citing anonymous sources, directly refuting all of its claims. "This is untrue", Amazon said in a blog post. Amazon later did the same thing, Bloomberg says, claiming that at a top-secret investigation into the issue remains open to this day.

The reported manipulation of electronics supply chains to United States companies are certain to sharpen long-standing questions about the crucial but uneasy relationship between the world's two leading economies.

USA 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. These servers were assembled for Elemental by Super Micro Computer Inc., a San Jose-based company (commonly known as Supermicro) that's also one of the world's biggest suppliers of server motherboards, the fiberglass-mounted clusters of chips and capacitors that act as the neurons of data centers large and small.

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"The report that China sought to infiltrate the computer chip supply chain, if true, is deeply disturbing and the latest example of the lengths that Beijing will go to in order to steal America's official and commercial secrets", Representative Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. China has responded with counter-tariffs on American products with particular political resonance, including agricultural goods.

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

Amazon's response was shorter but carried the same message: "We've found no evidence to support claims of malicious chips or hardware modifications", it said. It said it has never found any malicious chips, had not been informed that such chips were found by any customer, and never been contacted by government agencies on the matter. It said that a tiny microchip was planted on servers used by the companies and was discovered in 2015.

Super Micro told Bloomberg: "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". "Nor have we engaged in an investigation with the government".

Amazon said in a statement that Bloomberg had made so many inaccurate claims, they're "hard to count".

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