Tim Cook lambastes Bloomberg for iCloud spy chip report, calls for retraction

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 19
Apple CEO Tim Cook has uncharacteristically spoken out about the Bloomberg report that claimed that the Chinese had inserted a spy chip into the company's iCloud server, and is completely denying that Apple was impacted.




"There is no truth in their story about Apple," Cook told BuzzFeed. "They need to do that right thing and retract it."

"I was involved in our response to this story from the beginning," said Cook. "I personally talked to the Bloomberg reporters along with Bruce Sewell who was then our general counsel. We were very clear with them that this did not happen, and answered all their questions. Each time they brought this up to us, the story changed and each time we investigated we found nothing."

"We turned the company upside down. Email searches, datacenter records, financial records, shipment records," Cook added. "We really forensically whipped through the company to dig very deep and each time we came back to the same conclusion: This did not happen. There's no truth to this."

Cook's remarks are surrounding weeks of speculation and denials that Apple had been the victim of a Chinese plot to embed spy chips in iCloud servers. 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, and another denial on Thursday by The U.S. Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. Additionally, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security commented that it had "no reason to doubt" the positions of Apple and Amazon.

Bloomberg's response

Bloomberg continues to refute allegations of poor reporting of the matter.

"Bloomberg Businessweek's investigation is the result of more than a year of reporting, during which we conducted more than 100 interviews," a spokesperson told BuzzFeed. "Seventeen individual sources, including government officials and insiders at the companies, confirmed the manipulation of hardware and other elements of the attacks. We also published three companies' full statements, as well as a statement from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources."

Other questions about the story and details presented in the account posed by BuzzFeed were rebuffed by the publication.

BuzzFeed also claims that "according to numerous spokespeople and executives in positions to know about internal investigations," Google, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Dell, Palantir, Hewlett Packard, Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Twitter, Palantir, T-Mobile, Goldman Sachs, and Capital One were not in the group of 30 companies that Bloomberg alleges were attacked.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,313member
    We all know Bloomberg is not going to retract the story. They are just going to dig in further since if they admit they were wrong it will go against their credibility. 
    magman1979repressthisglfrostwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 61
    maestro64 said:
    We all know Bloomberg is not going to retract the story. They are just going to dig in further since if they admit they were wrong it will go against their credibility. 
    It goes more against their credibility if they don’t admit their mistake. Mistakes happen. Own up to it and make the changes to their vetting process. That’s what I can forgive. Digging in your heals on false accusations is unforgivable. 
    Andy.HardwakeleavingthebiggpontavignonchasmJWSCdws-2radarthekatrepressthisclaire1pscooter63
  • Reply 3 of 61
    pk22901pk22901 Posts: 128member
    I think Bloomberg was snookered by a WH directed plot against China. One that wanted to paint China into a treacherous corner. These "hundreda of interviews" and such, all sound like they could have been directed from the top. JMHO
    leavingthebiggmontrosemacsradarthekatmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 61
    This is the strongest indication yet that the story is seriously flawed if not bogus. Cook and his legal team would be insane to be this categorical in his denials knowing that the SEC does not mess around with overt dishonesty from the CEOs of publicly traded companies. Apple’s execs have essentially given up their confidentiality so Bloomberg needs to put up or shut up. 
    magman1979racerhomie3leavingthebiggpontavignonchasmlamboaudi4radarthekatrepressthispscooter63muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 61
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,051member
    If Apple denies this, it’s almost certain it didn’t happen.
    Apple has very sofisicated chip and software knowledge and the story has almost no merit from a technical perspective.
    I call this fake news, or “nieuws in komkommertijd” like we say in Holland.
    montrosemacsradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 61
    macguimacgui Posts: 935member
    Bloomberg said they have:

    > 100 interviews
    17 individual sources
    3 full statements from companies
    1 statement from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    and
    0 tampered boards 

    One board wouldn't prove that Apple, Amazon, or any company was an unwitting conduit (supposedly) to CN. But it would prove that it happened to somebody, or at least that it exists. And yet nothing so far.


    edited October 19 StrangeDaysmagman1979leavingthebiggSolichasmrepressthismuthuk_vanalingamtokyojimuwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 61
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 118member
    maestro64 said:
    We all know Bloomberg is not going to retract the story. They are just going to dig in further since if they admit they were wrong it will go against their credibility. 
    What of the inverse? Would highly secretive Apple ever own up to such a thing in public.
    Tim Cook responding looks like a tell.
    williamlondonGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 8 of 61
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,313member
    maestro64 said:
    We all know Bloomberg is not going to retract the story. They are just going to dig in further since if they admit they were wrong it will go against their credibility. 
    It goes more against their credibility if they don’t admit their mistake. Mistakes happen. Own up to it and make the changes to their vetting process. That’s what I can forgive. Digging in your heals on false accusations is unforgivable. 
    Admitting the mistake open them to liability( they will have to prove their case by sharing who their sources are or they knowing publish a story they knew was not true), lawyers run companies like this not altruistic individuals. Same reason Dr and Lawyer will never admit a mistake, the other side has to prove they were wrong. They stuck be a rock and a hard place. I do not see Apple suing them but Supermicro could since their stock tanked because of this.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 61
    knowitall said:
    Apple has very sofisicated chip and software knowledge...
    Yet they seem incapable of fitting newer versions into existing shipping Mac models. 

    I also discovered today it is virtually unpossible to install or upgrade to High Sierra or Mojave on machines configured with AppleRAID.
    edited October 19
  • Reply 10 of 61
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,313member
    This is the strongest indication yet that the story is seriously flawed if not bogus. Cook and his legal team would be insane to be this categorical in his denials knowing that the SEC does not mess around with overt dishonesty from the CEOs of publicly traded companies. Apple’s execs have essentially given up their confidentiality so Bloomberg needs to put up or shut up. 

    The is the key point I made a number of times, Apple is publicly traded company and when an Exec makes statement like this they have to be factually correct. If they are not and it found out they were not factually correct the SEC will be all over them and Tim would definitely loose his job over this. Apple Statement were too strong to think they were not telling the truth. I wonder if Tim will think twice about the fake media today.
    racerhomie3chasmbshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 61
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,289member
    macgui said:
    Bloomberg said they have:

    > 100 interviews
    17 individual sources
    3 full statements from companies
    1 statement from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    and
    0 tampered boards 

    One board wouldn't prove that Apple, Amazon, or any company was an unwitting conduit (supposedly) to CN. But it would prove that it happened to somebody, or at least that it exists. And yet nothing so far.


    Precisely... show the world one of these tampered boards.  Obviously, Bloomberg claimed thousands and thousands of servers were impacted... yet not one actual board has seen the light of day?  

    Bloomberg had a lot of cajones to publish such a piece.  If they didn't think the blowback would be this big, then people's heads ought to roll for this.  Bloomberg has a lot of explaining to do.
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 61
    davgreg said:
    maestro64 said:
    We all know Bloomberg is not going to retract the story. They are just going to dig in further since if they admit they were wrong it will go against their credibility. 
    What of the inverse? Would highly secretive Apple ever own up to such a thing in public.
    Tim Cook responding looks like a tell.
    It’s not a tell at all, and yes they would as they are barred from lying to investors. If they lied there would be an investigation and execs would be fired and tarnished, including Cook.

    Nice try.  
    thrangmontrosemacsfastasleepJWSCRayz2016radarthekatwilliamlondonanantksundaramclaire1bshank
  • Reply 13 of 61
    thrangthrang Posts: 744member
    davgreg said:
    maestro64 said:
    We all know Bloomberg is not going to retract the story. They are just going to dig in further since if they admit they were wrong it will go against their credibility. 
    What of the inverse? Would highly secretive Apple ever own up to such a thing in public.
    Tim Cook responding looks like a tell.
    It tells you he's being truthful, obviously.
    mwhiteStrangeDaysJWSCdws-2radarthekatanantksundaramclaire1bshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 61
    Can I sue Bloomberg for tanking supermicro shares?
    magman1979SpamSandwichradarthekatclaire1christophbwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 61
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,061member
    davgreg said:
    maestro64 said:
    We all know Bloomberg is not going to retract the story. They are just going to dig in further since if they admit they were wrong it will go against their credibility. 
    What of the inverse? Would highly secretive Apple ever own up to such a thing in public.
    Tim Cook responding looks like a tell.

    You have no clue what you're talking about. If Tim Cook and other execs are found to be blatantly lying about this, then the PR disaster for Apple would be infinitely greater than if this story was actually true and they admitted to it. Heads would roll and Apple's credibility would be utterly tarnished for a long time to come. And Apple execs could go to jail. Apple is the most scrutinized company on the planet, TC cannot assume that he can lie and get away with it for very long. The truth would come out. So yes, they WOULD own up to it, because doing anything else would be even worse. 
    edited October 19 magman1979mwhiteStrangeDaysJWSCdws-2radarthekatclaire1gilly33watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 61
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 1,950member
    ElCapitan said:
    knowitall said:
    Apple has very sofisicated chip and software knowledge...
    Yet they seem incapable of fitting newer versions into existing shipping Mac models. 

    I also discovered today it is virtually unpossible to install or upgrade to High Sierra or Mojave on machines configured with AppleRAID.
    Can we get the Dislike button back please?
    mwhiteStrangeDaysradarthekatdewmeclaire1bshankLukeCagefreerangewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 61
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,609administrator
    ElCapitan said:
    knowitall said:
    Apple has very sofisicated chip and software knowledge...
    Yet they seem incapable of fitting newer versions into existing shipping Mac models. 

    I also discovered today it is virtually unpossible to install or upgrade to High Sierra or Mojave on machines configured with AppleRAID.
    This started in El Cap, after not making any improvements to it since 2009. SoftRAID can pick up the volumes.
    edited October 19 fastasleepfreerangewatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 61
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,559member
    davgreg said:
    maestro64 said:
    We all know Bloomberg is not going to retract the story. They are just going to dig in further since if they admit they were wrong it will go against their credibility. 
    What of the inverse? Would highly secretive Apple ever own up to such a thing in public.
    Tim Cook responding looks like a tell.
    But they did and if Cook lied, it will have serious consequences for him. 




  • Reply 19 of 61
    maestro64 said:
    We all know Bloomberg is not going to retract the story. They are just going to dig in further since if they admit they were wrong it will go against their credibility. 
    Credibility? Lol... what credibility. The whole reporting/journalism/mass media institution are in shambles and corrupt. Nothing more than tentacles of the powerful to manipulate the masses.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 61
    ElCapitan said:
    knowitall said:
    Apple has very sofisicated chip and software knowledge...
    Yet they seem incapable of fitting newer versions into existing shipping Mac models. 

    I also discovered today it is virtually unpossible to install or upgrade to High Sierra or Mojave on machines configured with AppleRAID.
    This started in El Cap, after not making any improvements to it since 2009. SoftRAID can pick up the volumes.
    You can upgrade to Sierra including point upgrades of Sierra when installed on AppleRAID configs. 
    People have managed, by jumping through hoops, to install High Sierra on an AppleRAID, but you cannot do any point updates, so it becomes pointless. Mojave is virtually unpossible.

    Practically it means the Mini Server configs, that usually were configured with mirroring, are very hard to upgrade without either losing the protection of mirroring, or replace disks. 

    I really hope Apple have a compelling story come Oct 30. If not it is time to ask that CEO tough questions. 
This discussion has been closed.