Published: Fri, October 05, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

Intel community shudders with discovery of Chinese spy chips

Intel community shudders with discovery of Chinese spy chips

It too has denied the allegations. Bloomberg News' cybsecurity reporter Jordan Robertson has more.

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.

The company refutes the findings of the Bloomberg Businessweek investigation.

"We must hear directly from the companies potentially affected by this devastating security breach to get a better understanding of what happened", he said. A U.S. National Security Agency spokeswoman said she had no immediate comment.

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.

The operation, which Bloomberg Businessweek attributed to a Chinese military unit that specializes in hacking hardware, worked by inserting a tiny, innocuous-looking microchip onto motherboards in servers produced by Supermicro, a leading supplier of such equipment, based in San Jose.

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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.

The company is American, but the motherboards were assembled mainly in China. Apple removed all Super Micro servers from its data centers in 2016.

Apple said in a statement it "has never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server". 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. "We are not aware of any investigation by the FBI, nor are our contacts in law enforcement".

Each response appears to be chiefly concerned about the claim in Bloomberg's report that both companies learned of these Chinese intrusions and reported them to U.S. federal authorities while keeping the issues secret from the public.

The White House national security adviser said Chinese cyber attacks on the USA validate the Trump administration's emphasis on offensive cyber operations of its own, after Bloomberg News reported that Beijing had hacked American computer networks using a microchip built by its spies. "If it is the case, then government procurements from other countries like Europe, the U.S. and Dubai - Lenovo's servers - will drop substantially because of national security".

"There are so many inaccuracies in this article as it relates to Amazon that they're hard to count", the Seattle-based company said in its own statement.

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