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giftedviz.com December 17, 2018


DHS: No Reason to Doubt Firms’ Denials of China Hack

09 October 2018, 04:25 | Austin Hogan

US Homeland Security statement plays down Bloomberg spy chips claim

US government agrees with Apple and Amazon, says their servers were not compromised by China

While I'd like to believe companies like Apple and Amazon protect both consumers and the government - for all that is wrong with capitalism, our money is meaningful if nothing else is - I think I would be shocked if the hack was real and they copped to it without a lot more pressure, which they probably won't get as long as citizens/customers aren't directly involved.

On Thursday, Bloomberg Businessweek claimed that tiny spy chips were secretly installed in servers of nearly 30 American companies, including a major bank, government contractors and Apple and Amazon. The article alleged that the Chinese government had managed to secretly insert tiny chips onto motherboards that eventually found their way into Apple's possession. As the Register wrote, Apple and Amazon's denials were unusually firm, and it's possible that government sources overplayed the threat-though the site also found it "inconceivable that [Bloomberg] would publish a story this huge that wasn't watertight".

In 2013, whistleblower Edward Snowden released documents showing that the NSA had a secret program called PRISM that allowed the agency to access private data on cloud services.

Of course, Apple has issued denials before, seemingly created to split hairs and skirt the actual substance of allegations based on technicalities. "Apple never had any contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other agency about such an incident".

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Stathakopoulos also reiterated over the weekend that Apple had not been contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the issue. "On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server", it read.

"We are aware of the media reports but at this stage have no reason to doubt the detailed assessments made by AWS and Apple", said Britain's National Cyber Security Centre. Typically, in the wake of a big story like this, well-sourced reporters at major news organizations scramble to confirm it.

And so far, no one has produced a Supermicro circuit board with a spy chip embedded in it. Bloomberg claimed that almost 30 companies were affected by the attacks, so you might expect someone at at least one of those companies to report finding a modified board-again, as far as we know, this hasn't happened. A DHS denial certainly adds another twist to this story, though it remains to be seen whether under all the smoke, there was an actual fire.



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