United Kingdom cyber security agency backs Apple, Amazon China hack denials

Apple denies that any of its data centers were affected by Chinese spies.                  James Martin  CNET

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement on the explosive claims made by Bloomberg Newsweek about Apple, Amazon, and other tech giants using compromised Supermicro servers with Chinese spy chips for their cloud services. The boards were used on servers owned by USA tech firms, and the chips reportedly allowed the Chinese to obtain data on the compromised equipment.

The report cited 17 anonymous intelligence and company sources claiming Chinese operatives had tampered with a "technology supply chain", managing to place computer chips inside equipment that was shipped to the companies.

The Department of Homeland Security's statement follows a very similar conclusion reached by the U.K.'s National Cyber Security Center.

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

The report claimed that in addition to Apple and Amazon, Super Micro manufactured equipment for the U.S. defence department's data centres and other federal government functions - some operated by Apple and Amazon Web Services. (SMCI) products manufactured at factories in the country. Apple originally said that it "conducted rigorous internal investigations based on [Bloomberg's] inquiries and each time we have found absolutely no evidence to support any of them". 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.

According to Reuters, Apple Vice President for Information Security George Stathakopoulos wrote a letter to the US Senate and House commerce committees to say the company found no evidence supporting the allegations.

Apple's recently retired general counsel, Bruce Sewell, told Reuters he called the FBI's then-general counsel, James Baker, past year after being told by Bloomberg of an open investigation of Super Micro Computer Inc, a hardware maker whose products Bloomberg said were implanted with malicious Chinese chips.

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