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Report claims China steals data from Apple, Amazon



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A report has claimed that China has been stealing data from Apple and Amazon, amongst other US companies and agencies.

According to the report by Bloomberg, the data had been siphoned off via tiny chips inserted on server circuit boards made by a company called Super Micro Computer.

The news agency also claimed that the servers were compromised during manufacturing and the chips activated once they were up and running, it said.

Apple, Amazon and Super Micro have However rejected the report, claiming it is untrue.

Apple, in a strong worded statement, insisted that it had found “no evidence” to support the allegations.

Bloomberg, in the report, said their finding is a result of a year-long investigation by reporters Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley. It also claimed that the investigation uncovered evidence of the wide-ranging attack, which gave Beijing access to 30 large companies and many federal agencies.

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According to Bloomberg, the first information about the spying campaign had emerged during security testing carried out by Amazon in 2015 before it had started using servers from US company Elemental, which had been manufactured by Super Micro Computer at plants in China.

This discovery, the report claimed, then kicked off a long-running “top-secret probe” by US intelligence agencies, which found compromised servers in Department of Defense data centre, on board warships and handling data gathered by CIA drones

The report also claimed that China was well placed to carry out this kind of attack, said Bloomberg, because 90% of the world’s PCs are made in the country.

Carrying out the attack involved “developing a deep understanding of a product’s design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain to the desired location”, it said.

Many US companies, including Apple, Amazon and major banks, were also using Super Micro Computer hardware, but Bloomberg claims the probe led to some companies removing servers made by Super Micro and ending business relationships with the company.


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