Chinese spying microchips found in Apple, Amazon computers

Chinese spying microchips found in Apple, Amazon computers

"Amazon reported the discovery to United States authorities, sending a shudder through the intelligence community". "Amazon reported the discovery to US authorities, sending a shudder through the intelligence community", the report continues. "We are not aware of any customer dropping Supermicro as a supplier for this type of issue", Supermicro said in response to Bloomberg's report.

But Apple was also unusually direct in its refutation of Bloomberg's report, which cited 17 sources inside the USA government and the affected companies detailing the manipulation of Supermicro's motherboards while they were being manufactured in China.

A three-year investigation by USA government officials found that servers assembled for startup Elemental Technologies by San Jose-based company Supermicro reportedly contained tiny microchips "inserted at factories run by manufacturing subcontractors in China", Bloomberg reported.

In total, it is believed up to 30 companies may have been affected by the severe compromise of server hardware found in supply chains.

The chips reportedly subvert the hardware on which they are installed, draining data while also delivering new code, as does a Trojan horse.

A National Security Agency spokeswoman said she had no immediate comment.

The microchips were first discovered by Amazon, when the company had a third-party security company analyze the existing servers of Elemental Technologies, a US based startup it was thinking about acquiring. Amazon hired a third party to test Elemental's servers, which had been put together by Supermicro.

The tiny chips, as small as the tip of a sharpened pencil and created to be undetectable without specialist equipment, were implanted on to the motherboards of servers on the production line in China, the report in Bloomberg Businessweek said.

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The chip, discovered by an Amazon investigation three years ago, sparked a top-secret probe that is still ongoing today.

"Seventeen individual sources, including government officials and insiders at the companies, confirmed the manipulation of hardware and other elements of the attacks", Bloomberg said in a statement. Apple ended its relationship with Super Micro in 2016, although it maintains that this was for unrelated reasons.

Amazon, Apple, and Supermicro did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Check out the full story and see the statements from the named companies here.

Amazon's AWS said it has "found no evidence to support claims of malicious chips or hardware modifications". "While we would cooperate with any government investigation, we are not aware of any investigation regarding this topic, nor have we been contacted by any government agency in this regard".

A new report claims that Chinese intelligence added microchips into computers produced in that country. Bloomberg said its report was accurate.

A Bloomberg report alleges that Chinese spy chips compromised data center hardware at Apple and Amazon.

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