China used tiny microchip to hack Apple, Amazon servers

An investigative report released by Bloomberg asserts that China planted microchips inside motherboard servers to target Apple, Amazon, and many other U.S. companies.

    2018/10/10

NSFW    BEIJING — Apple and Amazon have become the subject of intense speculation after a new report claims their servers were infiltrated by Chinese spy chips.

According to a Bloomberg investigative report, a Chinese military unit planted microchips the size of a pencil tip into motherboards while they were on the production line in China.

The compromised hardware was supplied to Supermicro Computer in San Jose, California, and inserted into servers that were then used by almost 30 U.S. companies, including Apple and Amazon.

With the microchips, Chinese hackers had access to the companies' data centers, allowing them to steal information, connect with other servers, and alter operations.

U.S. intelligence services allegedly found out about the chip in 2015, around the same time that Apple and Amazon discovered the breach on their servers.

However, Supermicro, Apple, and Amazon have denied the claims made in the report. The Department of Homeland Security also came out saying it has no reason to doubt the companies' statements.

A follow-up Bloomberg report points to 'new evidence' from a telecom company, where a similar microchip was found embedded in the Ethernet connector of servers sourced from Supermicro.

Experts say hardware hacks are a legitimate concern, and are far more devastating and hard to detect than software-based incidents.

Still, most seem to be divided on the validity of the Bloomberg expose and may stay that way until actual concrete evidence — like an actual microchip — somehow surfaces.
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