According to the news report by Bloomberg, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that it had no reason to doubt the denials by the country’s tech companies with regard to a report that the Chinese had used a “spy chip” to hack into American networks.
The agency’s press secretary Tyler Houlton issued an emailed statement this weekend to that effect. In that statement, Houlton said that the Department of Homeland Security had no reason to doubt the denials made by the companies that had been named in that report.
The companies concerned included Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Super Micro Computer Inc.
According to the story published earlier last week by Bloomberg Businessweek, servers assembled by the San-Jose based technology company, Super Micro Computer, were “bugged” with Chinese spy chips.
The report also stated that these spies had exploited the weakness in the US supply chain and, by doing, so, had managed to infiltrate 30 American technology companies, including Amazon and Apple. Other organizations that were impacted were a bank as well as some government contractors.
One of these contractors was a company that developed software that helped transfer footage from drones to the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) as well as helped communicate with the International Space Station.
It was found that a minute microchip – no larger than a grain of sand – had been secreted into various devices in China where they were being manufactured by subcontractors of Super Micro Computer. Super Micro is one of the world’s largest server motherboard suppliers.
According to the investigation, it was found that these minuscule chips that had been inserted onto the motherboards of the target servers allowed attackers to create a backdoor into that network.
This infiltration was allegedly being investigated by the American FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). The report stated that this had been confirmed by national security officials would were aware of the matter.
Amazon, Apple, Super Micro as well as the Chinese government immediately issued denials when this report was published.
Amazon stated that this news report had so many inaccuracies that they were difficult to count.
Apple stated that Bloomberg’s sources were either wrong or just misinformed. Or that they may have confused the matter with an incident in 2016, when the company discovered one single infected driver on one Super Micro service in one of Apple’s laboratories.
Super Micro also issued its denial, stating that the company had never been contacted by any government officials regarding this issue.
Both the US and the UK issued statements in support of the companies mentioned in the report. UK’s NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) at the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) spokesperson stated that they had no reason to doubt the assessments made by the technology companies on this matter.
Despite the fact that since the article was published on Thursday last week, security researchers and information security pundits have dissected and criticized the article, Bloomberg has stood by its reporters and reporting.
However, the leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam Schiff from California stated that they were seeking more clarity from the US intelligence community with regard to this report and would also be reaching out to the supposedly affected companies for further details.
Schiff issued a statement that the report released by Bloomberg Businessweek that China had tried to infiltrate America’s supply chain was deeply disturbing if it was proved to be true. He also said that this also showed the lengths to which China was willing to go in order to steal official as well as commercial secrets from the US.