China reportedly carried out a 'hardware hack' on Apple and Amazon

China reportedly carried out a 'hardware hack' on Apple and Amazon

China reportedly carried out a 'hardware hack' on Apple and Amazon

An explosive Bloomberg report claims that Chinese hackers were able to plant a tiny microchip in servers assembled by Supermicro Computers which were then used by tech giants like Apple and Amazon. As for Super Micro, it denied that it introduced the chips during the manufacturing phase.

The microchips in question have been the subject of a secret US government investigation dating back to 2015, Bloomberg said.

If Bloomberg's report is accurate, the attack would be devastating for the United States and the companies involved; it means that China has built a window into the very guts of United States government and business.

The goal of the Chinese spies was reportedly to use these microchips to gain access to sensitive corporate data and other secrets through advanced hacking. Apple reportedly severed ties with Super Micro in 2016.

The revelations came just hours before Vice President Mike Pence was to deliver a stinging rebuke of China in a speech at the Hudson Institute in Washington. The majority of electronic components used in USA technology are manufactured in China.

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

Amazon said in a statement that the report is "untrue".

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Apple was one of Supermicro's major customers, with the Cupertino company at one point planning to order more than 30,000 servers from it for one of its data centers within a span of two years.

US 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. And since this was a physical infestation, the consequences could be far more severe than a wireless hacking.

The malicious microchips were traced to subcontracting factories that manufactured motherboards for Super Micro, based in San Jose, California.

According to the report, Apple and Amazon found surveillance chips from China in their server hardware, which was provided by Super Micro located in the country.

No consumer data was reportedly compromised.

Reuters was unable to reach Apple, Amazon or representatives with the FBI, Dept of Homeland Security Agency and National Security Agency for comment. "We are not aware of any investigation by the FBI, nor are our contacts in law enforcement". We did not uncover any unusual vulnerabilities in the servers we purchased from Super Micro when we updated the firmware and software according to our standard procedures.

Amazon, in a statement published by Bloomberg, said: "We've found no evidence to support claims of malicious chips or hardware modifications". Bloomberg quoted "three senior insiders" as saying they had also discovered the tiny chips, which Bloomberg said were much smaller than a penny and were created to transmit information back to China about the data flowing across the servers. AWS also responded to the article in a blog post.

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