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Department of Homeland Security Does Not Doubt Statements of Tech Giants Regarding China Hack

Apple contested the Bloomberg report Thursday, saying its own internal investigations found no evidence to support the story’s claims.

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CPU chips are seen at a recycling facility in Tokyo in October 2010.. VOA
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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Saturday it currently had no reason to doubt statements from companies that have denied a Bloomberg report that their supply chains were compromised by malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence services.

“The Department of Homeland Security is aware of the media reports of a technology supply chain compromise,” DHS said in a statement.

“Like our partners in the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre, at this time we have no reason to doubt the statements from the companies named in the story,” it said.

Department of Homeland Security
Customers look at iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus phones at an Apple Store in San Francisco, California, Sept. 22, 2017. (VOA)

Bloomberg Businessweek on Thursday cited 17 unidentified intelligence and company sources as saying that Chinese spies had placed computer chips inside equipment used by around 30 companies, as well as multiple U.S. government agencies, which would give Beijing secret access to internal networks.

Apple and Amazon

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.

Apple contested the Bloomberg report Thursday, saying its own internal investigations found no evidence to support the story’s claims and that neither the company, nor its contacts in law enforcement, were aware of any investigation by the FBI on the matter.

Department of Homeland Security
Experts: Cyber attacks Growing Increasingly Sophisticated. Pixabay

Apple’s recently retired general counsel, Bruce Sewell, told Reuters he called the FBI’s then-general counsel, James Baker, last year after being told by Bloomberg of an open investigation of Super Micro Computer Inc, a hardware maker whose products Bloomberg said were implanted with malicious Chinese chips.

Also Read: Apple And Amazon Deny Chinese ‘Spy’ Chips Into Their Network

“I got on the phone with him personally and said, ‘Do you know anything about this?” Sewell said of his conversation with Baker. “He said, ‘I’ve never heard of this, but give me 24 hours to make sure.’ He called me back 24 hours later and said ‘Nobody here knows what this story is about.” Baker and the FBI declined to comment Friday. (VOA)

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Urges Bloomberg To Retract Chinese Spy Chips Story

Earlier this month, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to "be careful what you read" in reference to the report, BuzzFeed News said

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Apple CEO urges Bloomberg to retract spying chips story. Pixabay

Apple CEO Tim Cook is urging Bloomberg to retract its story about an alleged embedded Chinese spying chips that compromised about 30 companies including the servers of Apple.

BuzzFeed News said Friday that the Apple CEO, who received an interview with the news outlet on Thursday, went on the record for the first time to deny allegations that his company was the victim of a hardware-based attack from a Chinese supplier and demanded Bloomberg retract the unfounded story, reports Xinhua news agency.

“There is no truth in their story about Apple,” Cook told BuzzFeed News. “They need to do that right thing and retract it.”Bloomberg Businessweek issued a story earlier this month alleging about 30 US companies were compromised after their servers were implanted malicious chips during their manufacture in China, which created “a stealth backdoor” into their network running on the servers.

Apple denied in an October 4 statement that it had found the “malicious chips” in servers on its network, saying it refuted “virtually every aspect of Bloomberg’ s story relating to Apple”.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, Wikimedia
Apple CEO Tim Cook, Wikimedia

“Apple has never found malicious chips, hardware manipulations or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server,” it said.In the latest response to the Bloomberg claims, Cook said he “was involved in our response to this story from the beginning”.”I personally talked to the Bloomberg reporters along with Bruce Sewell, who was then our general counsel.

We were very clear with them that this did not happen, and answered all their questions,” said Cook. “Each time they brought this up to us, the story changed, and each time we investigated we found nothing,” he added.”We turned the company upside down… We really forensically whipped through the company to dig very deep and each time we came back to the same conclusion: this did not happen. There’s no truth to this,” Cook said.The Bloomberg’s report has been extensively questioned even by representatives of the companies it claimed to fall victim to the “backdoor” attack.

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Earlier this month, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to “be careful what you read” in reference to the report, BuzzFeed News said.It quoted a high-ranking executive of a tech giant in Silicon Valley as saying that his company has conducted investigations, which didn’ t turn up any evidence of tampering.

“We couldn’t find anything,” he said. “Our assessment is that it didn’t happen.”  (IANS)