Fri, Oct 05, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Apple and Amazon deny hardware attack report

Reuters, LONDON

Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc yesterday denied a Bloomberg report that their systems contained malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence, statements from the tech companies released separately by Bloomberg showed.

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

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a written request for comment yesterday.

Beijing has previously denied allegations of orchestrating cyberattacks against Western companies.

Amazon, in a statement published by Bloomberg, said: “We’ve found no evidence to support claims of malicious chips or hardware modifications.”

Apple said it had refuted “virtually every aspect” of the story in on-record responses to Bloomberg.

“Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server,” the company said.

Bloomberg reported that the malicious chips were planted by a unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, which infiltrated the supply chain of a hardware company called Supermicro.

The operation is thought to have been targeting valuable commercial secrets and government networks, the news agency said.

A representative for Supermicro at its European headquarters in the Netherlands said the company was unable to provide an immediate comment.

There have been increased concerns about foreign intelligence agencies infiltrating US and other companies via so-called “supply chain attacks,” particularly from China, where multiple global tech firms outsource their manufacturing.

The US government on Wednesday said that a hacking group widely known as cloudhopper, which Western cybersecurity firms have linked to the Chinese government, had launched attacks on technology service providers in a campaign to steal data from their clients.

The warning came after experts with two prominent US cybersecurity companies this week said that Chinese hacking activity has surged amid the escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing.

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