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Tech giants deny ‘Chinese spy chip’ reports

AWS, Apple dispute Bloobmerg's report

AWS and Apple are among the companies that denied claims by Bloomberg that their servers were compromised by Chinese spies.

The report claims that spies were able to infiltrate some of the world’s biggest tech companies by inserting microchips the size of “a grain of rice” into Chinese-manufactured servers, part of the tech giants’ infrastructure. It alleges that the companies discovered the chips on their own and notified US authorities, but both Apple and Amazon have refuted any of the claims cited in the story.

In a statement released to TVBEurope, an Amazon spokesperson said: “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.‎ Additionally, we have not engaged in an investigation with the government.”

In its own statement, Apple said the company took the report seriously. It stressed there was no suggestion customer data was affected.

“Apple has always believed in being transparent about the ways we handle and protect data,” the company said. “If there were ever such an event as Bloomberg has claimed, we would be forthcoming about it and we would work closely with law enforcement.”

Bloomberg’s story suggested that “six current and former senior national security officials”, members of both the current and former governments, offered details of the discovery of the chips and a government investigation into the matter. It said four US government officials and three Apple insiders confirmed the company fell victim to the chips, while one official and two people in AWS offered Bloomberg information on how it impacted Amazon, according to the Bloomberg story. Amazon cooperated with a US government investigation, according to two of the people cited in the story.