Sunday February 17, 2019
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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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Department of Homeland Security
CPU chips are seen at a recycling facility in Tokyo in October 2010.. VOA

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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Samsung Competes Apple, Launches Stores and Expand Retail Footprints in US

On February 20, Samsung is also hosting its "Unpacked" event in San Francisco, where it will announce its first foldable smartphone and "Galaxy S10".

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Samsung, Apple
Samsung's retail presence in the US was marked only by pop-up stores and dedicated spaces in franchisees like Best Buy. Pixabay

Keeping in line with the prevailing competition with Apple, Samsung is planning to inaugurate three full-scale stores in Los Angeles, New York and Houston on February 20, aiming to expand its retail footprint in the US, Apple Insider reported.

Samsung intends to allow users to try and buy its products ranging from smartphones to Virtual Reality (VR) glasses and televisions via these retail stores.

Much like Apple Stores, the South Korean giant plans on providing in-person customer support along with walk-in repairs available for mobile devices.

Apple, Samsung
Apple has long touted its retail stores as one of its key advantages, since people can try products in advance and have a place to turn if they need help with setup or troubleshooting. Pixabay

Up until now, Samsung’s retail presence in the US was marked only by pop-up stores and dedicated spaces in franchisees like Best Buy. This move comes at a time when Apple is coping with declining iPhone sales, driven mostly by tough competition in China from local smartphone makers.

“Apple has long touted its retail stores as one of its key advantages, since people can try products in advance and have a place to turn if they need help with setup or troubleshooting. It remains to be seen whether Samsung would be able to cultivate an equal or superior level of support and whether or not will enough people choose to shop at outlets instead of online or at the many third-party vendors that carry Samsung gears,” the report said.

ALSO READ: Facebook, FTC Discuss ‘Multibillion Dollar’ Fine for Privacy Lapses

Due to low traffic and poor response, the company failed in its attempts at retail expansion in the UK and withdrew quickly.

On February 20, Samsung is also hosting its “Unpacked” event in San Francisco, where it will announce its first foldable smartphone and “Galaxy S10”, the report noted. (IANS)