U.S. intelligence director: 'no evidence' of Chinese spy chips in iCloud servers

Posted:
in iCloud
The U.S. Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, claims that the government has seen "no evidence" so far that Chinese spy chips were planted onto motherboards that then made their way into servers at companies like Apple.

Image Credit: Joe Warminsky/CyberScoop
Image Credit: Joe Warminsky/CyberScoop


"We've seen no evidence of that, but we're not taking anything for granted," Coats told CyberScoop ahead of a speech. "We haven't seen anything, but we're always watching."

During the speech itself, Coats warned businesses to "be aware of supply chain threats," and recognize that "cyberthreats to your supply chain are an insidious problem that can jeopardize the integrity of your products."

Earlier in October, a Bloomberg report based on extensive investigation claimed that Apple, Amazon, and almost 30 other companies had been the victim of an espionage campaign in which rice-sized chips had been planted on motherboards made by Super Micro. Once delivered, the motherboards supposedly created a backdoor into infrastructure like Apple's iCloud.

Apple was quick to deny allegations, insisting that it had conducted a "massive, granular, and siloed investigation."

Amazon has likewise issued denials.

"There are so many inaccuracies in this article as it relates to Amazon that they're hard to count," Amazon said in its statement, refuting several specific claims, and specifically citing that there was no modified hardware found

Several subsequent accounts have cast further doubt, such as one from the senior advisor for Cybersecurity Strategy to the director of the U.S. National Security Agency. Additionally, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security commented that it had "no reason to doubt" the positions of Apple and Amazon.

Bloomberg hasn't backed down from its claims, and U.S. senators have asked Super Micro for answers.

While the report surrounding the alleged chip matter is still contentious, U.S. corporate and government networks are regularly the target of hacks by Chinese operatives trying to obtain secrets or probe defenses.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,526member
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    edited October 19 wonkothesane
  • Reply 2 of 34
    Yeah it would be nice if all the outlets that ran this story (I heard it on my local radio) made a correction that there has been zero evidence or collaboration, and is outright refuted by all parties of any relevance.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 34
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    Not to mention that a physical chip would be a terrible way to embed spyware simply because it would be easy to spot. Far better to embed something in the BIOS. That has access to all systems and would be vastly harder to spot. Do I think China, and others, are trying to put spyware on systems going to the west? Yes. Do I think Bloomberg got it right? No.
    tokyojimubaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 34
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,800member
    The spy chip is an imagined story by Bloomberg reporters after they got the idea from a theoretical work of a security researcher. The whole story is possible due to freedom of speech being exploited by the media for their own interests. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 34
    claire1claire1 Posts: 483unconfirmed, member
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    Not even close.

    Conspiracy theories have evidence. This was just a rumor someone made for clicks. This is the 21st century version of conspiracies where you tubers and facebook posts are the source.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 34
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    Bu.. bu.. but didn't you hear!? Gruber thinks that it might be a secret plot by the Trump administration somehow related to the trade war with china. Lol
  • Reply 7 of 34
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,338member
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    My neighbor tried to convinced my son of that one. My son came home and said to me do you know our neighbor is nuts, and he was 12 or 13 at the time. 

    I personally believe the world has gotten too complicated for most people to logically understand what is actually happening. In the case of Tech do you believe any major media outlets have people who have the technical knowledge to filter out the BS from actual facts. Most journalist especially at the big media company do not have the science based education, I read all the time them making statements of fact which are completely wrong because they do not understand the topic they are writing about. They rely on someone to interrupted for them and if they person is not good at breaking the details down you get garbage. Tyr explaining who a computer or cell phone works to a kid. 

    I will tell you I worked for a company back in the 80's while in college who had an instance of industries sabotage. I new prototype was tampered with, it was maintenance worker from a outside company and it was covered up, very few people knew it ever happen, I found out by mistake someone said something in front of me without realizing who I was. The reason it was not reported to authorities, was due to the fact the company had government contracts. Do you think the company wanted the government knowing their facility was compromises while they were working on a government contract. Stuff like this happens all the time and many times it is never talked about.

    Another company I worked for had a chip design stolen from a Chinese national. The Company never knew it was stolen until a part show up in the market place with the exact same spec as our design. We go hold of the part de-capped it and layout of the chip was identical to our chip, even down to the our company logo on the chip hidden in the design of the chip. Companies do this all the time so they can verify if someone else steals the design. Apple did this with QuickTime, they have some bogus code they had in the code that didn't do anything and a company stole the code and sold a video codec solution to Microsoft and Apple was able to prove it by show this line of code.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 34
    Bloomberg is seriously tarnishing their own reputation.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 34
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,461member
    Bloomberg seems a lot quieter about this than they were last week.

    And they still haven't produced the evidence.
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 34
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    Bu.. bu.. but didn't you hear!? Gruber thinks that it might be a secret plot by the Trump administration somehow related to the trade war with china. Lol
    Link? As to why Bloomberg's govt sources gave them bum info, anything is possible. That included.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    maltzmaltz Posts: 106member
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    There are plenty of reasons to question this story, but dismissing it out of hand as some kooky conspiracy theory is naive.  We've even done this very thing ourselves, though in a less sophisticated way on a smaller scale, and presumably not for the purposes of industrial espionage.  (As for doing it via the BIOS instead of adding a chip, as someone suggested, that would get destroyed at the first BIOS update, which may even happen before the server was even installed.)
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 12 of 34
    claire1 said:


    Conspiracy theories have evidence. This was just a rumor someone made for clicks. This is the 21st century version of conspiracies where you tubers and facebook posts are the source.
    Conspiracy theories have *minimal* evidence and are usually constructed in ways that are are difficult/extremely time consuming to refute vs. the effort to create.

    The contrail one - take the height of the aircraft, multiply it by spread, and the maximum rate of "prozac injection" even considering that the plane needs fuel and passengers/cargo, and what's the density at ground level? Does air have memory like water? Is this a Homeopathic conspiracy theory?

    That takes a lot of computation and critical thought that an average person isn't going to do.

    baconstangGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 34
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,803member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Bloomberg seems a lot quieter about this than they were last week.

    And they still haven't produced the evidence.
    In Bloomberg's eyes they do not need to provide evidence because they believe they are correct in their assertions. All societies of man have been engaged in a constant struggle between beliefs and truths. The fallacy is assuming that beliefs are shaped or dominated by truths. They may be on occasion, but in very many cases they are not. In fact, given the right environment, influences, and consequences truths can be entirely dominated and subverted by beliefs. It would be accurate to say that we live in such an environment today. But it would also be accurate to say that what is happening today is in no way unique. It is the norm. So even the production of evidence, or lack thereof, would not change everyone's beliefs. That is where we are and where we shall remain.
    edited October 19 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 34
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    There was no shooter on grassy knoll.  The assissination was perpertrated by moon dwarves... that were worried about getting invaded.  The shot was a moon shot.

    My evidence?  We haven’t been to the moon much have we?  I wonder if I can sell the story to Bloomberg...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 34
    claire1 said:
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    Not even close.

    Conspiracy theories have evidence. This was just a rumor someone made for clicks. This is the 21st century version of conspiracies where you tubers and facebook posts are the source.
    Since when? Whether it is faked moon landing, chem-trails, or Kennedy assassination, the one thing conspiracy theories and those that espouse them DON'T have is evidence. Lots of odd observations. Lots of bits of stories distorted and taken out of context. Lots of conjecture. But the one thing they don't have is concrete evidence to back up their crazy ideas.
  • Reply 16 of 34
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    Bu.. bu.. but didn't you hear!? Gruber thinks that it might be a secret plot by the Trump administration somehow related to the trade war with china. Lol
    Link? As to why Bloomberg's govt sources gave them bum info, anything is possible. That included.
    Why is it that people reflexively ask “link?” anytime they hear something they don’t like? The assumption is I fabricated that in my head?? Listen to his podcast. 

    True. Anything is possible. Perhaps the “government” sources were actually lizard people in people skin spreading earth FUD in preparation for an invasion. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 17 of 34
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    Bu.. bu.. but didn't you hear!? Gruber thinks that it might be a secret plot by the Trump administration somehow related to the trade war with china. Lol
    Link? As to why Bloomberg's govt sources gave them bum info, anything is possible. That included.
    Why is it that people reflexively ask “link?” anytime they hear something they don’t like? The assumption is I fabricated that in my head?? Listen to his podcast. 

    True. Anything is possible. Perhaps the “government” sources were actually lizard people in people skin spreading earth FUD in preparation for an invasion. 
    I’ve concluded the “government” sources had left for the private sector and were scamming companies with fake testing/security scans.  The fact they “found” something was to continue their business model of fraud.  Unfortunately for them their false claims became public in the Bloomberg article where they were used as sources.  These “confidential” sources will be uncovered eventually as our federal agencies track them down.  Run little fraudsters run.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 18 of 34
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    Bu.. bu.. but didn't you hear!? Gruber thinks that it might be a secret plot by the Trump administration somehow related to the trade war with china. Lol
    Link? As to why Bloomberg's govt sources gave them bum info, anything is possible. That included.
    Why is it that people reflexively ask “link?” anytime they hear something they don’t like? The assumption is I fabricated that in my head?? Listen to his podcast. 

    True. Anything is possible. Perhaps the “government” sources were actually lizard people in people skin spreading earth FUD in preparation for an invasion. 
    I’ve concluded the “government” sources had left for the private sector and were scamming companies with fake testing/security scans.  The fact they “found” something was to continue their business model of fraud.  Unfortunately for them their false claims became public in the Bloomberg article where they were used as sources.  These “confidential” sources will be uncovered eventually as our federal agencies track them down.  Run little fraudsters run.
    Ah, finally something that makes some sense. That sounds very plausible. Hopefully they do track down the fraudsters if that’s what’s going on. 
  • Reply 19 of 34
    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    So why would a highly respected and trusted news source lie?  (Which seems to be your assumption)

    Yes, the propaganda outlets lie on a daily basis (as you so well pointed out).  But respected news sources validate their stories and, on the rare event they are proved wrong then publish a correction of retraction.  That has yet to happen here.

    Further, the people here on the ai forum seem to believe that this story was about Apple.   It wasn't.  Apple was just one of many.  Maybe they got lucky and evaded the attack. 
  • Reply 20 of 34
    Yeah it would be nice if all the outlets that ran this story (I heard it on my local radio) made a correction that there has been zero evidence or collaboration, and is outright refuted by all parties of any relevance.
    Bloomberg calls bull.
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