The Chinese government may have placed spy material via microchips inside certain Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Apple products in an effort to gain access to American intellectual property and trade secrets, though most tech giants are adamantly disputing the claims, according to CNBC. If the suspicions are true, the microchips would have been placed during the equipment manufacturing process.
The claims stem from a report in Bloomberg Businessweek that says the US government began a top-secret investigation into these chips back in 2015, finding that “the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines.” The report continued: “Multiple people familiar with the matter say investigators found that the chips had been inserted at factories run by manufacturing subcontractors in China.”
Apple claims to not have found any such chips in their hardware and Super Micro, the Silicon Valley manufacturing company who would be responsible for introducing the chips to the devices, has denied that they have done so.
The allegations have caused Super Micro shares to drop a hefty 40% and trading of the server manufacturer on the Nasdaq was suspended on August 23rd. Amazon dropped about 1.5% and Apple dropped 1%.
“We are deeply disappointed that in their dealings with us, Bloomberg’s reporters have not been open to the possibility that they or their sources might be wrong or misinformed,” Apple told CNBC. “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. That one-time event was determined to be accidental and not a targeted attack against Apple.”
AWS has also denied the claims, stating “As we shared with Bloomberg BusinessWeek multiple times over the last couple months, at no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems.”
The Chinese foreign ministry simply commented on the ordeal by saying “”China is a resolute defender of cybersecurity.”