United States and UK Governments Back Denial of Supermicro Story

Apple and Amazon Deny Chinese Spy Hack Rumors

Wikimedia Commons Florian Hirzinger

"We are aware of the media reports but at this stage have no reason to doubt the detailed assessments made by AWS and Apple", said Britain's National Cyber Security Centre.

As a reminder, Bloomberg's report stated that Amazon and Apple found suspicious chips on widely used Super Micro servers that could relay information to foreign agents, who could then possibly initiate more intrusive attacks. The statement adds that DHS has no reason "at this time" not to believe the statements from companies like Apple, Amazon and Supermicro denying the existence of the tiny spy chips.

Apple denied the report on Thursday, telling Fox News that the story was "inaccurate" and its sources "wrong or misinformed".

Apple contested the Bloomberg report on Thursday, saying its own internal investigations found no evidence to support the story's claims and that neither the company, nor its contacts in law enforcement, were aware of any investigation by the FBI on the matter. These chips were supposedly put into server motherboards manufactured by Super Micro, and allowed spies to, "access high-value corporate secrets and sensitive government networks".

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Apple said in a statement it had "never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server". "Our internal investigations directly contradict every consequential assertion made in the article", Apple claims. "Apple never had any contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other agency about such an incident". As the Register wrote, Apple and Amazon's denials were unusually firm, and it's possible that government sources overplayed the threat-though the site also found it "inconceivable that [Bloomberg] would publish a story this huge that wasn't watertight".

Apple and Amazon, two companies identified as victims of the hack, refuted Bloomberg's claims in statements on their websites.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Saturday it now had no reason to doubt statements from companies that have denied a Bloomberg report that their supply chains were compromised by malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence services. But it remains unclear whether this was a photograph of an actual board or a digital recreation.

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