Apple and Amazon blast China hack chip report

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Along with claiming that their servers were never compromised by Chinese intelligence agents, both companies also denied any involvement in a secret Federal Bureau of Investigation probe. It too has denied the allegations.

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. "This is untrue", Amazon said in a blog post. "We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources".

Stephen Innes, APAC head of trading of online currency broOanda said the claims made in the Bloomberg story would further complicate relations between the two nations, especially in the wake of recent comments by US President Donald Trump that China is meddling in the US midterm elections.

"This report provides more evidence that China's pattern of behavior is a serious threat to national security and supply chain risk management", said said Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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Surveillance through altered hardware is more difficult to execute than more familiar hacks to software, but the results can be harder to remedy because the components must be detected and physically removed, or use of the hardware must be discontinued.

The idea that China has been installing mini-spies into American electronics has always been a fear of the American intelligence community, as the US's New Cold War adversary produces most of the gadgets used in the West.

Bloomberg reports that a San Jose, Calif. -based server supplier called Super Micro Computer Inc., may have exposed hundreds of customers, including Elemental, to an attack that placed tiny unknown chips into servers that could open networks and servers to outside control. China has responded with counter-tariffs on American products with particular political resonance, including agricultural goods.

The report said that dozens of companies may have used sabotaged servers in their data centers before the Chinese operation was detected.

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On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server. Apple never had any contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other agency about such an incident.

"Our best guess is that they are confusing their story with a previously reported 2016 incident in which we discovered an infected driver on a single Super Micro server in one of our labs", Apple said of the Bloomberg report.

Super Micro told Bloomberg: "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".

Amazon said in a statement that "it's untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental", the United States video service on whose servers, the report says, Amazon found the microchips. "Nor have we engaged in an investigation with the government".

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