According to a Bloomberg report, data center equipment used by the Amazon Web Services and Apple may have had tiny microchips inserted in them during the manufacturing process by Chinese server company Super Micro. The microchips have allegedly been used by the Chinese government for surveillance and for gathering intellectual property and have been the subject of a secret U.S government investigation in 2015.
Apple, AWS and Super Micro have strongly disputed the report and have made official statements also reported by Bloomberg.
It’s untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental. It’s also untrue that AWS knew about servers containing malicious chips or modifications in data centers based in China, or that AWS worked with the FBI to investigate or provide data about malicious hardware.
Apple has never found malicious chips, “hardware manipulations” or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server. Apple never had any contact with the 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.
While we would cooperate with any government investigation, we are not aware of any investigation regarding this topic nor have we been contacted by any government agency in this regard. We are not aware of any customer dropping Supermicro as a supplier for this type of issue.
It’s not the first time China finds itself in the midst of surveillance concerns – back in August, the Australian government blocked Chinese carriers from building a 5G network and Chinese component manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE alongside surveillance camera maker Hikivision have been under intense scrutiny from the U.S government in the past year.