China Infiltrated 30 US Companies Including Apple and Amazon with Hardware Hack

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If Chinese spies did infiltrate the supply chain of servers and insert microchips into those used by Apple, Amazon and other U.S. companies, including government agencies, Amazon, Apple and China's ministry of foreign affairs claim they had no knowledge of it.

Apple and Amazon have issued unusually robust on-the-record statements, refuting a Bloomberg report that Chinese spies planted microchips in hardware from supplier Super Micro.

The microchip was used for spying. Tiny chips, no bigger than the tip of a sharpened pencil, reportedly allowed complete access to bugged machines through nefarious code, and many companies, even USA government contractors and a major bank, are said to be affected by the supply chain attack.

Back in 2015, Amazon took such a liking to Elemental for its software-defined video solutions, that Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced on September 3, 2015, its intention to acquire Elemental. AWS subjected the company to a security audit, which raised flags in the servers that Elemental customers needed to install on their networks to handle the video compression software.

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The extent of the data China collected from the surveillance chips was not clear from the report, and no consumer information was known to have been stolen, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. However, citing "senior insiders" inside Apple, the report claims that once the company found these malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards, it severed all ties with it.

Amazon and Apple have both strongly denied the results of the investigation.

In its lengthy statement, Amazon said: "We've found no evidence to support claims of malicious chips or hardware modifications".

Apple, Amazon and Super Micro have rejected Bloomberg's claims, calling them "untrue". One affected company had its servers used by USA government clients, including Department of Defense data centers, Navy warships and the Central Intelligence Agency in its drone operations. That one-time event was determined to be accidental and not a targeted attack against Apple.

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However, Bloomberg's sources are adamant. "We are not aware of any investigation by the FBI, nor are our contacts in law enforcement".

Bloomberg published a series of statements in response to its story - with each company distancing itself from the allegations.

"Many more details are available in Bloomberg's report". 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. "Apple never had any contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other agency about such an incident", the company said in a statement provided to Bloomberg.

Apple, AWS, Super Micro, and China's Ministry for foreign affairs have all vehemently denied the report.

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Over the course of the past year, Bloomberg has contacted us multiple times with claims, sometimes vague and sometimes elaborate, of an alleged security incident at Apple.