Report: China may have used tiny microchips to spy on U.S. companies

October 05, 2018 11:54 AM

(NBC News) An explosive new report shows China may have used a tiny microchip hidden in devices to infiltrate U.S. companies.

According to the Bloomberg report from reporters Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley, Chinese surveillance chips were embedded into data center hardware used by the U.S. government and major companies including Apple and Amazon.

"What these chips were designed to do is create an invisible doorway into these data centers that just couldn't be detected," Riley explains. 

Chinese spies allegedly planted the tiny chips into server motherboards made by Supermicro in an effort to snatch intellectual property and trade secrets.

"When hardware is compromised on that level, nothing on a tampered system can be trusted and that's the truly scary prospect," Robertson says. 

According to Bloomberg, Apple and Amazon-owned "AWS Elemental" were among the 30 companies that fell prey to the espionage. A government investigation is still ongoing.

Those involved are vehemently denying the allegations.

A spokesperson for Supermicro said, "We remain unaware of any such investigation."

Apple says, in part, that it has never found: "malicious chips, 'hardware manipulations' or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server."

Amazon also denied finding any issues relating to modified hardware.

The Bloomberg reporters say they stand by their story.

"It is 17 total sources with direct senior level knowledge of events," Robertson says.

A hardware attack of this scope could mark a major threat to America's technology supply chain, which is primarily dependent on China.

Read more:

Advertisement – Content Continues Below


NBC News

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

Relay Media Amp
Beekman Boys receive backlash over charity campaign

Sheriff Apple: 19 year old rescued after drinking and falling off Thacher Park's overlook

Boil water order lifted for Troy, Brunswick, North Greenbush and Poestenkill

A Night for Ayanna: Tragedy & tribute

Missing woman with Alzheimer's disease found safe