Bloomberg Spy Chips Report Update: Super Micro To Review Motherboards As Apple Calls For Retraction

Apple CEO Tim Cook In Apple Store In Shanghai
Apple, AWS, Super Micro has continuously challenge the unfounded allegations detailed in a Bloomberg spying report published early in October. (Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song)

Super Micro Computer announced on Oct. 22 that despite baseless accusation, it would conduct an investigation of its motherboards for any spying chips as alleged in Bloomberg report titled "The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies."

Despite the lack of any proof of the allegations contained in the Bloomberg report, Super Micro chose to conduct a comprehensive and thorough review to address the publication. This was the message in a letter the company distributed to its customers according to Reuters.

The company announced the move in the same day that Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for Bloomberg to retract the questionable report in an interview with BuzzFeed News. The interview was the first time that Cook has first spoken in public since the controversy erupted early this month.

BuzzFeed said Cook's public call for a retraction is "an unprecedented move" since the CEO and Apple has never gone public to call out a malicious report about the company.

In a tweet, Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, agreed with Cook and supported his call for Bloomberg to retract its report. Jassy highlighted that the publication's report was erroneous and that Bloomberg has since kept tweaking their stories. The publications have also been allegedly dismissing their explanations unless the accused companies were willing to validate the report.

At the heart of the issue is a report where Bloomberg claimed that spies have implanted chips as tiny as a grain of sand in motherboards sold to and used by as many as 30 U.S. companies. The malpractice was reportedly highly pronounced in China's supply chains. The breached systems were reportedly used by Apple, Amazon, and some major U.S. government agencies. The alleged spy chips reportedly gave China secrets to confidential company networks.

The Bloomberg report said the spying chips were found on Super Micro motherboards. The report alleged that Apple was the first to have discovered the implants in 2015while Amazon uncovered the same later the same year.

All concerned companies have issued official statements refuting the said report within hours after the report was published.

On Oct. 4, Super Micro said it strongly denied that servers it sold to customers contained spying chips in the motherboards. The statement added that it takes all security claims very seriously as it invests heavily in the security capabilities of its products.

Super Micro added that it is not the only computer supplier that has manufacturing plants in China. It said that having supply chains in China is a standard practice in the manufacturing industry. In fact, nearly all systems providers used the same contract manufacturers, the company asserted. Furthermore, as part of its standard operating procedure, Super Micro conducts regular certification and routine inspections in its manufacturing facilities.

The United States Department of Homeland Security, the United Kingdom's Cyber Security Center, NSA Senior Adviser for Cybersecurity Strategy Rob Joyce, Former FB general counsel James Baker, and U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats have all believed that the companies are not guilty of the wrongdoing as alleged in the Bloomberg report.

© 2019 Business Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Sign Up for Newsletters and Alerts