Following up on our story from Thursday — Chinese Spy Chips Allegedly Inserted Into Amazon, Apple, etc. Datacenters by Super Micro [soylentnews.org] — there is a report from Ars Technica Bloomberg stands by Chinese chip story as Apple, Amazon ratchet up denials [arstechnica.com]:
On Thursday morning, Bloomberg published a bombshell story [arstechnica.com] 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 [apple.com] 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 [amazon.com] 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 [bloomberg.com] 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 [arstechnica.com] 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 [hackaday.com] on Hackaday where a comment [hackaday.com] identifies the particular board in question as being a MicroBlade MBI-6128R-T2 [supermicro.com]. A link to a tweet [twitter.com] reveals a picture of the board in question and a followup picture showing where the extra device would be located.