Another US intel chief casts doubt on Chinese spy chip story

On Thursday, US director of national intelligence Dan Coats

told Cyberscoop
that he has yet see any evidence
to corroborate the claims that Chinese spies compromised
critical US tech infrastructure following a report by
Bloomberg earlier this month.

“We’ve seen no evidence of [Chinese hardware manipulation],”
Coats said, “but we’re not taking anything for granted.”

An earlier Bloomberg report claimed that Chinese spies
had inserted tiny malicious chips into Supermicro servers that
were subsequently purchased by dozens of Silicon Valley’s most
prominent tech companies, including Apple and Amazon. The
reported cited multiple unnamed sources from US intelligence
services as well as former employees from both companies.

But in the weeks since the spy chip story was published, many
have grown skeptical. The report has yet to be corroborated by
reporters outside of Bloomberg, and it has met with a
string of detailed denials from tech companies and government
officials. Both
Apple and Amazon released statements
vehemently denying the
claims made in the report. “On this we can be very clear: Apple
has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or
vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server,” a statement
from Apple read.

Senior officials from
the Department of Homeland Security
and the
UK’s top cybersecurity agency
also say they are not aware
of a supply-chain attack like the one described by
Bloomberg. One of the report’s named sources also said
on a podcast that the story’s central claim “didn’t make any sense.”

Thomas Rid, a political scientist and information technology
expert, has called for Bloomberg to retract the story
or otherwise provide further evidence. “Man up Bloomberg, face
the facts if you think facts matter, get to the bottom of what
went wrong here,” Rid said
in a tweet
. “And try to salvage your badly tarnished
reputation in computer security reporting.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *