Bloomberg story alleged that spies inserted tiny microchips on servers made in China that were used by 30 companies, including Apple and Amazon


Amazon and Apple have both strongly denied a Bloomberg Businessweek report that some of their Chinese-manufactured servers have been compromised by Chinese spies.

Bloomberg’s story alleges that Chinese spies managed to insert tiny microchips, not much bigger than a grain of rice, on servers made in China that could be activated once the machines were plugged in overseas. The chips, said Bloomberg, were inserted at factories run by manufacturing subcontractors in China. The servers, it said, were manufactured for US firm Super Micro Computer Inc.

The story suggested that Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Apple were among 30 companies, as well as government agencies and departments, that used the suspect servers.

Both Apple and Amazon have strenuously denied the claims. An Amazon spokesman 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.”

Apple put out a lengthy statement on its website contradicting the report: “The October 8, 2018 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek incorrectly reports that Apple found “malicious chips” in servers on its network in 2015. As Apple has repeatedly explained to Bloomberg reporters and editors over the past 12 months, there is no truth to these claims.”

“Each time, we have conducted rigorous internal investigations based on their inquiries and each time we have found absolutely no evidence to support any of them. We have repeatedly and consistently offered factual responses, on the record, refuting virtually every aspect of Bloomberg’s story relating to Apple.

“On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, “hardware manipulations” or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server. Apple never had any contact with the FBI or any other agency about such an incident. We are not aware of any investigation by the FBI, nor are our contacts in law enforcement.”