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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: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08 2018, @06:52AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08 2018, @06:52AM (#745838)
    Unless it's a false flag gone wrong e.g. Apple, etc inconveniently figured out those extra chips were installed by the CIA/NSA and not China, and so they got NSLs forcing them to say nothing happened.

    Apple has quite strict and tight control over their supply chains (to prevent leaks and "maintain" quality among other things), so they may have figured out the chips weren't added in China or by China... And this campaign is to salvage the anti-China false flag operation...

    Even the above is more believable bullshit than Bloomberg's version of reality. ;)

    Seriously though, if it really happened why would Apple AND Amazon etc deny it? Why only Bloomberg and a bunch of anonymous people claim it happened? It's like Bloomberg and a bunch of anonymous people claiming a bunch of women were raped by China and ALL those women make PUBLIC statements to deny that ever happened and even say Bloomberg is getting stuff wrong. If two of the victims stepped out to say "Yes it happened to me" then I'd start to believe it.
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08 2018, @02:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08 2018, @02:29PM (#745964)

    You ask why would they deny it, but the answer is obvious: they do not want to admit their operations are not at all secure. Some people have been wisely avoiding US based services for awhile. This kind of revelation does not exactly improve their reputation.

    When billions of dollars are on the line, people tend to lie, alot.