US, UK authorities hose down server supply chain hack claim

US government agrees with Apple and Amazon, says their servers were not compromised by China

US Homeland Security statement plays down Bloomberg spy chips claim

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement on the explosive claims made by Bloomberg Newsweek about Apple, Amazon, and other tech giants using compromised Supermicro servers with Chinese spy chips for their cloud services.

Stathakopoulos repeated Apple's statements to the press that it never found malicious chips or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server or been contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about such concerns.

Cyber security agencies in the United Kingdom and USA have played down claims that the China military inserted spy chips into computer hardware before it was exported overseas.

The US Department of Homeland Security issued a statement on Saturday saying "we have no reason to doubt the statements from the companies named in the story".

A detailed analysis of the Bloomberg report on technology site The Register noted both Apple and Amazon "would want to keep any highly confidential information and contacts with intelligence services as quiet as possible". According to Bloomberg, these servers wound up in the data centers of nearly 30 companies, including Apple and Amazon.

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"We tried to figure out if there was anything, anything, that transpired that's even remotely close to this", a senior Apple security executive told BuzzFeed News. "Apple's proprietary security tools are continuously scanning for precisely this kind of outbound traffic, as it indicates the existence of malware or other malicious activity", he wrote in his letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. "Nothing was ever found", Apple wrote in its letter to Congress.

Both Elemental and Super Micro have also strongly denied the Bloomberg report.

When the story broke last week, though, the United States intelligence agencies were quiet, but the Department of Homeland Security stepped in over the weekend to say that although the agency is aware of Bloomberg's report, it has "no reason to doubt" the statements made by the two companies.

"Bloomberg's story further alleged that Amazon sold off its entire data infrastructure in Beijing to Chinese partners, which a source familiar with the move described as akin to "[hacking] off the diseased limb", and that Apple replaced all 7,000 or so Supermicro servers in its data centres. According to the report, a federal investigation into the issue is underway. Supermicro also says the story is wrong. "If I wanted to do this, this is how I'd do it".

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