Apple and Amazon have strongly refuted a Bloomberg report linking them to a giant Chinese plot to hack into the databases of US companies using tiny microchips.
In unusually robust on the record statements, the two trillion dollar tech companies said they know nothing about Chinese spies planting rice grain-sized microchips in hardware that reached 30 major American companies.
According to Bloomberg, Apple discovered the malicious chips three years ago in hardware supplied by motherboard specialist Super Micro. But Apple pointed Business Insider to the statement it sent Bloomberg, which said it has “never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server.”
The full statement, which is available here, added that Apple always inspects its servers before they are put into production and if it found anything suspicious, it would have alerted the authorities.
“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 said.
Amazon said in a statement that Bloomberg had made so many inaccurate claims, they’re “hard to count.”
Bloomberg reported that Amazon performed a “network-wide audit” after the company found the malicious chips in Super Micro hardware in its Beijing data center. Amazon says this never occurred, as modified hardware or malicious chips were never found in its servers. Bloomberg also reported that the modified hardware was found in systems operated by Elemental Media, a company Amazon acquired in 2015, which the company also refutes.
“As we shared with Bloomberg BusinessWeek multiple times over the last couple months, this is untrue,” Amazon said in a statement, which you can read here. “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.”
SuperMicro, the San Jose, Calif maker of the computer motherboards that the report says were compromised, told Bloomber that it was not aware of any investigation.
SuperMicro latter said it has “never found any malicious chips, nor been informed by any customer that such chips have been found… Supermicro has never been contacted by any government agencies either domestic or foreign regarding the alleged claims,” according to a tweet by Wall Street Journal reporter Robert McMillan.
Bloomberg ran its original story with information from 17 unnamed intelligence and company sources.
In a statement provided to Business Insider, Bloomberg stands by its reporting. Here’s the full statement:
“Bloomberg Businessweek’s investigation is the result of more than a year of reporting, during which we conducted more than 100 interviews. Seventeen individual sources, including government officials and insiders at the companies, confirmed the manipulation of hardware and other elements of the attacks. We also published three companies’ full statements, as well as a statement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources.”