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Apple and Amazon Deny Chinese ‘spy’ Chips Into Their Network

According to Apple, its digital assistant Siri and social search and analytics company Topsy never shared servers

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Google , US, Alexa, Amazon, Drones, e-commerce
The logo of Amazon, online retailer is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, France. VOA

Apple and Amazon have strongly denied a media report that claimed a massive “supply chain attack” by Chinese spies planted chips in motherboards in data servers bought by these two giants among 30 tech companies.

Bloomberg Businessweek on Thursday reported that malicious chips — as small as a sharpened pencil tip — were planted by a unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to gain access to the supply chain of a firm called Super Micro, known as the “Microsoft of the hardware world”.

According to the report, Apple discovered suspicious chips in its servers in 2015.

The Cupertino-based iPhone maker replied it has never found malicious chips, “hardware manipulations” or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server.

“The October 8, 2018 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek incorrectly reports that Apple found “malicious chips” in servers on its network in 2015. As Apple has repeatedly explained to Bloomberg reporters and editors over the past 12 months, there is no truth to these claims,” Apple said in a statement.

Apple
Apple, Amazon deny Chinese ‘spy’ chips into their network. Flickr Commons

“Over the course of the past year, Bloomberg has contacted us multiple times with claims, sometimes vague and sometimes elaborate, of an alleged security incident at Apple.

“Each time, we have conducted rigorous internal investigations based on their inquiries and each time we have found absolutely no evidence to support any of them,” Apple said.

“Apple never had any contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or any other agency about such an incident. We are not aware of any investigation by the FBI, nor are our contacts in law enforcement,” the tech giant added.

According to Apple, its digital assistant Siri and social search and analytics company Topsy never shared servers.

“Siri has never been deployed on servers sold to us by Super Micro; and Topsy data was limited to approximately 2,000 Super Micro servers, not 7,000. None of those servers have ever been found to hold malicious chips,” said Apple.

Amazon,com. Flickr
Amazon.com, Flickr

According to Apple, its best guess is that “they are confusing their story with a previously-reported 2016 incident in which we discovered an infected driver on a single Super Micro server in one of our labs”.

According to Steve Schmidt, Chief Information Security Officer at Amazon Web Services (AWS) which is Amazon’s Cloud arm, “there are so many inaccuracies in “this article as it relates to Amazon that they are hard to count”.

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“Amazon employs stringent security standards across our supply chain – investigating all hardware and software prior to going into production and performing regular security audits internally and with our supply chain partners,” Schmidt said in a statement.

“We further strengthen our security posture by implementing our own hardware designs for critical components such as processors, servers, storage systems, and networking equipment,” he added. (IANS)

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Apple, Samsung Can Change The Manufacturing Scenario In India: Minister

The government sees iconic companies like Apple and large consumer goods makers like Samsung as big players in electronics who can change the face of manufacturing in India, Minister of State for IT

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Samsung, Apple, Manufacturing, India
Apple and Samsung are very big players, they can change scenarios for private sector manufacturing, they can be role models for other companies to manufacture in India. Wikimedia Commons

The government sees iconic companies like Apple and large consumer goods makers like Samsung as big players in electronics who can change the face of manufacturing in India, Minister of State for IT and Telecom Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre has said.

“Apple and Samsung are very big players, they can change scenarios for private sector manufacturing, they can be role models for other companies to manufacture in India”, Dhotre told IANS in an exclusive interview.

On Monday, IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held a day-long round table with the CEOs of many global companies, including Apple and Samsung, to get feedback on their concerns and how those could be addressed to make India a top electronics manufacturing hub.

Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant also attended the meeting.

Cupertino-based smartphone maker Apple Inc, was specially mentioned and nudged by Prasad to expand their presence in India.

“Apple has started manufacturing phones in India including components. They have started making iPhones in India and also components both for exports. But this is just a tip of the iceberg. I want a robust presence of Apple in India. A super robust presence of Samsung in India. Apple is also on board as far as the India story in concerned,” Prasad told media here after the meeting.

Samsung, Apple, Manufacturing, India
Samsung to come up with many new inventions as well, this year. Wikimedia Commons

The global IT and telecom CEOs raised issues of tariffs, taxes, single window clearance and component manufacturing, among others, with the Minister.

” The round table meeting was to only hear from them because many of their problems are similar– tax structure, tariffs , state level problems. Revenue secretary and Niti Aayog CEO were there and we all will sit together and resolve everything. Incentives or otherwise, there are some probles on the duty and the tax structure. And the revenue secretary has assured of looking into the issues”, Dhotre said.

Responding to a query on policies to boost electronics production, Dhotre said: “We are amending the policies in this regard. All the companies are very enthusiastic to invest and increase their presence in India. We will come out the new set up incentives in the next three to four months”.

The Minister also said that with the kind of policies and steps the ministry is taking, “we will certainly achieve the 400 billion dollar target by 2025”.

The National Electronics Policy, 2019 targets a turnover of $400 billion for the electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) sector by 2025.

Samsung, Apple, Manufacturing, India
An Apple company logo is seen behind tree branches outside an Apple store in Beijing, Dec. 14, 2018. VOA

Apple has started to export iPhones to some European markets from India. Its contract manufacturer Wistron Corp’s Indian arm is now exporting smart phones from their Bengaluru facility.

Bringing in new norms for FDI in single-brand retail, the government has recently allowed all procurement made in India by a single-brand retailer for that brand to be counted towards local sourcing, irrespective of whether the goods procured are sold in India or exported – which was a major relief for companies like Apple Inc.

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The new norms also allow firms to open online shops before setting up a physical store, which too helps Apple in regard to its India plans.

According to IT Ministry officials, as a fallout of the US-China trade tensions, it is believed that Apple’s suppliers and partners like Foxconn or Wistron are being nudged to gradually shift their production out of China.

Apple Inc last week launched the newest iPhone 11 starting at $699, as well as new gaming and content streaming subscription services, at aggressive monthly tariffs as the California-based company looks to create new revenue streams amidst falling phone sales globally. (IANS)