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posted by mrpg on Sunday October 07 2018, @08:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the our-fortune-looks-bleak dept.

Following up on our story from Thursday — Chinese Spy Chips Allegedly Inserted Into Amazon, Apple, etc. Datacenters by Super Micro — there is a report from Ars Technica Bloomberg stands by Chinese chip story as Apple, Amazon ratchet up denials:

On Thursday morning, Bloomberg published a bombshell story claiming that the Chinese government had used tiny microchips to infiltrate the data centers of Apple and Amazon. Apple and Amazon, for their part, responded with unusually specific and categorical denials. It's clear that someone is making a big mistake, but 24 hours later, it's still not clear whether it's Bloomberg or the technology companies.

On Thursday afternoon, Apple laid out its case against the story in a lengthy post on its website. The post specifically disputed a number of Bloomberg's claims. For example, Bloomberg says that after discovering a mysterious chip in one of its servers, Apple "reported the incident to the FBI," leading to an investigation. Apple flatly denies that this occurred.

"No one from Apple ever reached out to the FBI about anything like this," Apple writes. "We have never heard from the FBI about an investigation of this kind."

Amazon's response has been equally emphatic and detailed. "There are so many inaccuracies in ‎this article as it relates to Amazon that they're hard to count," Amazon wrote on Thursday. "We never found modified hardware or malicious chips in servers in any of our data centers."

Yet Bloomberg reporter Jordan Robertson, one of the article's co-authors, has stood by his story. In a Thursday afternoon appearance on Bloomberg TV, Robertson said that he talked to 17 anonymous sources—both in US intelligence agencies and at affected companies—who confirmed the story.

So what's going on? It's clear that someone isn't telling the truth, but it's hard to tell what the real story is.

A comment to that story on Ars noted:

The (alleged) chip is associated with the BMC (baseboard management controller). It has indirect access to everything that the BMC can touch, which is pretty much everything in the system.

See, also, coverage on Hackaday where a comment identifies the particular board in question as being a MicroBlade MBI-6128R-T2. A link to a tweet reveals a picture of the board in question and a followup picture showing where the extra device would be located.

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 07 2018, @05:55PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 07 2018, @05:55PM (#745564)

    I really dont see the Chinese doing this.

    Sure, they are as rouge as the rest of us, but if they got caught doing something like this it could collapse their entire economy. Risk is too high.

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  • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Sunday October 07 2018, @08:53PM

    by crafoo (6639) on Sunday October 07 2018, @08:53PM (#745629)

    a) They did it. B) No one really cares because everyone gets caught doing things like this all the time.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by ilsa on Sunday October 07 2018, @11:59PM

    by ilsa (6082) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 07 2018, @11:59PM (#745715)

    Sure, they are as rouge as the rest of us,

    I dunno. I think you may be looking at it through rogue-tinged glasses.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Monday October 08 2018, @01:57AM (1 child)

    by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 08 2018, @01:57AM (#745770) Journal

    That's like saying if the NSA got caught doing this, it would collapse the entire US economy.

    It wouldn't crash either one. It's an interesting time we live in, where today's storm-in-a-teacup is tomorrow's ancient history. It seems that whatever happens is only critically vital right up until the moment it happens, it is proven or can no longer be averted. Then that topic is so far down the talking points, it never sees the light of day again.