According to Bloomberg, China has reportedly infiltrated more than 30 U.S. tech companies, including fortune 500 businesses like Apple and Amazon using pencil lead, sized spying chips.
Money is the name of the game and top countries with the most per capita income and GDP have been in each other’s throats for a long time now. During the turn of the past century, mostly after the second world war, the rift between Russia formerly the Soviet Union and the United States, known as the cold war, was a big thing. Those two countries went as far as space to prove their superiority to the world, using nothing other than means of technology, and the US prevailed at the end after the fall of the Soviet Union
China used Tiny Chips to Spy on US Citizens according to Bloomberg
The same strategy, as mentioned above, is being applied in the present trade rift between China and America with both countries using means to come out on top. According to the report released by the global IT company Bloomberg, the Chinese government that is being run by the Communist Party had managed to hide tiny surveillance chips on server motherboards of more than 30 companies that are extremely hard to identify or detect.
It is no secret that that most of the companies like Apple and Amazon let all of the manufacturing done in locations like China where the labour is cheap, and they get significant tax breaks to earn a more hefty revenue. This vulnerability and dependence on Chinese manufacturing plants by US companies prompted their government to spy on the users of the manufactured products, mainly people living in the United States.
The Bloomberg report stated that the server motherboards or signal conditioning couplers of the tiny chips were designed by an American company called Super Micro. But the spying chips were installed without Super Micro’s knowledge and delivered to more than 30 US companies like Amazon and Apple. Such chips are also known to be used by the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.
Apple and Amazon deny the presence of such spying chips
Apple made the first discovery of suspicious chips inside Super Micro servers in May 2015, but it denied that such infiltration of privacy ever existed in the first place and issued the following press release:
“ While there has been no claim that customer data was involved, we take these allegations seriously, and we want users to know that we do everything possible to safeguard the personal information they entrust to us. We also want them to know that what Bloomberg is reporting about Apple is inaccurate.
Our best guess is that they are confusing their story with a previously reported 2016 incident in which we discovered an infected driver on a single Super Micro server in one of our labs. That one-time event was determined to be accidental and not a targeted attack against Apple.”
The incident also led Apple to cut its ties with Super Micro, and it was also rumored that the company started an internal investigation of their own. This came after it was previously reported that Apple had full intentions to expand their business with the Super Micro company as it had planned to order 30,000+ of its servers for two years in the future to establish a new global network of data centers around the globe, mainly in China.
Amazon did the same as it also rejected the speculations around the Chinese spy chips inside their products’ server hardware. However, both companies were reported to be part of an FBI led the investigation on the issue. Despite the lack of acknowledgement of the incident by Amazon, the report also stated that the company instantly contacted the FBI and removed all of the chips from their products within one month of discovery, ahead of its acquisition of Elemental Systems.
The workings of the tiny Chips that were used to Spy on US Companies
The Bloomberg report suggested that the small spy chips were designed to steal the IPs of the users who used the products of the American companies, along with all of their trade secrets. It was also reported that chips were capable of modifying the motherboard’s operating systems and letting the developers of the chips(Chinese) to control the networks of such companies from a remote place and gain full access to the information used on the servers.
As mentioned earlier, the US military was also found to be the more frequent in user of the signal conditioning couplers developed by the Super Micro company and that those motherboards were used by the data centers of the United State’s Defense Department and to control the CIA drone operations led in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
The Chinese Government denied its hand on any such chip-spying scandal
The internal affairs ministry for foreign affairs of China followed the routed of the American military, Amazon, and Apple, and intensely denied the report issued by Bloomberg. But the news agency is hanging tight with the story and issued a stated that they have statements from as much as 17 credible witnesses, including the workers of both Apple and Amazon.
Humankind has been at odds with each other to establish their superiority for as far as one could remember. First such sense of achieving advantage was instituted in the battlefield, now the game has reached a point of finesse and precision, and technology is being used to learn what the enemy is doing.
Infiltrating the servers of the military and the top trade companies of any country is not a piece of new information and the usage of Super Micro’s spy servers to install spy chips is one of many. However, to maintain peace and order in the world, we must learn the art of trusting one another and leave such habits. Otherwise, there would be chaos around the world.