Is Bloomberg’s China Spy Chip Story Fake News?

Source: Business Insider

Recently an interesting story hit the web directly from the folks at Bloomberg, and so far, it has caused more confusion than anything else. The story was designed to reveal a possible hack by China, but as it stands right now, we’re not sure if the story is truthful.

Here’s the thing, the Bloomberg report claims that Chinese intelligence agents have infiltrated several tech companies in the United States. The popular publication cited 17 unidentified sources from businesses and within the intelligence agencies.

These sources claim that China used computer chips attached to hardware equipment to spy on the United States’ supply chain. Apparently, 30 companies and numerous government agencies in the U.S. have been affected.

If this story holds true, it would mean the men in Beijing would have garnered secret access to the core of the U.S. supply chain, and that’s bad, very bad.

Additionally, Amazon and Apple figured out what was going on in 2015 when both companies found strange chips attached to servers they purchased from California based, Super Micro Computer Inc.

Things took a strange turn

Source: Flipboard

Not long after Bloomberg published its article, both Amazon and Apple, who were named as some of the companies affected, strongly denied the accusations.

According to Apple, “there is no truth” to the story, while Amazon firmly stated the Bloomberg report is simply “untrue.”

Not only that but the company that sold the affected equipment to U.S. companies, Super Micro Computer Inc, also strongly denied the claims. Not surprisingly, Bloomberg didn’t bend under pressure as the publication said: “We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources.”

More Denials

A few days after the news went viral, quite a few Apple employees spoke with BuzzFeed News where they’ve downright denied any knowledge of any claim made in the Bloomberg article.

The employees who were not named in the BuzzFeed article includes senior executives who work on Apple’s security infrastructure; therefore, they should have knowledge of everything.

“We tried to figure out if there was anything, anything, that transpired that’s even remotely close to this,” according to one Apple executive when speaking with BuzzFeed. “We found nothing.”

Another executive went on to add that Apple is not lying to the public in a bid to protect national security interests. He or she said the company is not under a gag order by the government, but we should point out that Congress in the past has given retroactive immunity to companies who aided the U.S. government.

“We are aware of the media reports but at this stage have no reason to doubt the detailed assessments made by AWS and Apple,” said the National Cyber Security Centre, a unit of GCHQ.

“The NCSC engages confidentially with security researchers and urges anybody with credible intelligence about these reports to contact us,” it said.

In comes the UK’s top spy agency

To make matters worse for Bloomberg, the United Kingdom’s own spy agency which is known as the GCHQ, made a few comments on the matter of China using spy chips to gain supply chain information.

Apparently, the GCHQ did not call for an investigation into the claims from the popular and trusted publication. Furthermore, it would seem as if the UK spy agency is inclined to agree with the findings or lack thereof from Amazon and Apple.

“We are aware of the media reports but at this stage have no reason to doubt the detailed assessments made by AWS and Apple,” according to the GCHQ.

Homeland Security’s bombshell statement

Another huge blow to Bloomberg’s story is a recent statement from Homeland Security where the agency chose to side with Apple, Amazon, and all others involved.

“The Department of Homeland Security is aware of the media reports of a technology supply chain compromise. Like our partners in the UK, the National Cyber Security Center, at this time we have no reason to doubt the statements from the companies named in the story,” according to the DHS Press Secretary.

Is the Bloomberg story “fake news” by any means?

OK, so with the reputation this publication has amassed over the years, it’s very difficult to believe it would place its reputation on the line to knowingly publish fake news.

In that case, either the sources are being manipulative, or Apple, Amazon, and Super Micro Computer Inc have all chosen to hide the truth.

Someone needs to investigate the claims more deeply because the world needs to know what is going on behind the scenes.