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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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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.

ALSO READ: Technology, a Great Boon for Filmmaking

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)