Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Apple, Amazon deny Bloomberg report claiming cyber attack by Chinese spies

Chinese spying microchips found in Apple, Amazon computers: report Report: Amazon, And Apple Among Nearly 30 Firms Hit By China Chip Attack
Mandy Jefferson | 05 October, 2018, 02:47

Amazon reported the matter to USA authorities, who determined that the chips allowed attackers to create "a stealth doorway" into networks using those servers, the story said.

One miniscule microchip, found on Chinese-built motherboards, may have infiltrated the world's biggest companies and the depths of the USA government. Our best guess is that they are confusing their story with a previously reported 2016 incident in which we discovered an infected driver on a single Super Micro server in one of our labs.

The data had been siphoned off via tiny chips inserted on server circuit boards made by a company called Super Micro Computer, reported the news agency.

On Wednesday, the United States government warned that a hacking group known as cloudhopper - which cybersecurity firms have linked to the Chinese government - has launched attacks on technology service providers to steal data from their clients. It's said that a branch of the People's Liberation Army that specialises in computer attacks were responsible for the risky chips being implemented on motherboards that would eventually make their way into servers of some of the largest corporations in the world.

Apple said in a statement it had "never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server".

Apple, AWS, Super Micro, and China's Ministry for foreign affairs have all vehemently denied the report.

Apple, AWS and Super Micro dispute the report.

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It added: "We have repeatedly and consistently offered factual responses, on the record, refuting virtually every aspect of Bloomberg's story relating to Apple".

Super Micro also rejected Bloomberg's reporting. Bloomberg quoted "three senior insiders" as saying they had also discovered the tiny chips, which Bloomberg said were much smaller than a penny and were created to transmit information back to China about the data flowing across the servers.

It claims that thousands of server motherboards manufactured by Supermicro contained malicious chips, about the size of a grain of rice, that could be used to "access high-value corporate secrets and sensitive government networks".

As you might expect, Apple has denied the incident.

Reuters was unable to reach Apple, Amazon or representatives with the FBI, Dept of Homeland Security Agency and National Security Agency for comment. No consumer data was stolen as part of the alleged campaign, according to the report.

Supermicro said it was unaware of an investigation, while USA investigators, including the FBI, declined to comment. However, a total of 17 individuals claiming to have deep internal knowledge of both Apple and Amazon claim that the reasoning behind the removal of Supermicro systems was due to the discovery of exceptionally tiny spy chips. Apple, which has since severed ties with Supermicro for what it says are unrelated reasons, says it has never found "malicious chips" in its products.

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