United Kingdom cyber security agency backs Apple, Amazon China hack denials

United Kingdom cyber security agency backs Apple, Amazon China hack denials

United Kingdom cyber security agency backs Apple, Amazon China hack denials

USA and United Kingdom government agencies have said they have "no reason to doubt" strong denials issued by Amazon and Apple that hardware hackers had successfully trojanized servers used by the companies, providing a backdoor for Chinese spies (see Report: Chinese Spy Chip Backdoored US Defense, Tech Firms).

When the story broke last week, though, the USA intelligence agencies were quiet, but the Department of Homeland Security stepped in over the weekend to say that although the agency is aware of Bloomberg's report, it has "no reason to doubt" the statements made by the two companies.

A detailed analysis of the Bloomberg report on technology site The Register noted both Apple and Amazon "would want to keep any highly confidential information and contacts with intelligence services as quiet as possible".

The Department of Homeland Security is aware of the media reports of a technology supply chain compromise.

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Britain's national cyber security agency said Friday it had no reason to doubt the assessments made by Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc challenging the report.

The original report from Bloomberg last week claimed that the Chinese government had Super Micro include a rice-grain sized chip on its motherboards. But the three companies featured in the story-Apple, Amazon, and Supermicro-have all issued broad and strongly worded denials.

Because both are publicly traded companies, their public statements are subject to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulations. Apple denied the report, and said that Bloomberg is confusing an event that took place in 2016 when the company found an infected driver on a single Super Micro server in one of its labs.

"We tried to figure out if there was anything, anything, that transpired that's even remotely close to this", a senior Apple security executive told BuzzFeed News.

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In a Monday letter to top lawmakers on the House and Senate commerce committees, Apple says that the company "worked tirelessly" to investigate Bloomberg's claims in the months before Bloomberg published its story.

"Apple's proprietary security tools are continuously scanning for precisely this kind of outbound traffic, as it indicates the existence of malware or other malicious activity".

Apple and Amazon, two companies identified as victims of the hack, refuted Bloomberg's claims in statements on their websites. Tech literacy in the USA, particularly within our government, is in a pretty sorry state; it's not hard to imagine someone "with knowledge of the situation" overhearing a conversation about a malfunctioning chip, which is how both Apple and Amazon explained the story away, and misunderstanding it to mean willful surveillance by whatever political interest might have supplied it. "Nor have we engaged in an investigation with the government".

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