China used tiny chips on USA computers to steal secrets

China used tiny chips on USA computers to steal secrets

China used tiny chips on USA computers to steal secrets

Chinese hackers have reportedly implanted spying microchips in servers used by numerous data centers of such USA corporate giants as Apple and Amazon, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Super Micro Computer may have been the prime target in a hack allegedly carried out by the Chinese military.

Reuters was unable to reach Apple and Amazon, as well as representatives with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security Agency and National Security Agency for comment.

Bloomberg said a year-long investigation by reporters Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley had uncovered evidence of the wide-ranging attack, which gave Beijing access to 30 large companies and many federal agencies.

But Bloomberg Businessweek cited 17 unnamed intelligence and company sources as saying that Chinese spies had placed computer chips inside equipment used by around 30 companies, as well as multiple US government agencies, which would give Beijing secret access to internal networks.

Several US officials contacted by The Washington Post said they were uncertain about the accuracy of the Bloomberg Businessweek report.

Carrying out the attack involved "developing a deep understanding of a product's design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain to the desired location", it said. The post goes on to specifically say that Bloomberg's claim of Amazon selling potentially infected servers to its Chinese partner Sinnet is "absurd".

Apple denied the account, saying it had investigated the claims.

"On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server".

"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.

Both Apple and Amazon have issued responses Bloomberg's report.

And Supermicro wasn't just supplying boards to Elemental; it was manufacturing for hundreds of other customers. The Chinese government claimed to be "a resolute defender of cybersecurity" in statements to Bloomberg.

Citing three internal sources, Bloomberg said Apple also discovered the malicious chips in motherboards supplied by Supermicro in 2015. The report also stated the issue is now under investigation.

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 chips on Elemental servers were created to be as inconspicuous as possible, according to one person who saw a detailed report prepared for Amazon by its third-party security contractor, as well as a second person who saw digital photos and X-ray images of the chips incorporated into a later report prepared by Amazon's security team.

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