Amazon has followed Apple CEO Tim Cook in calling for Bloomberg to retract its China chip hack story. The company previously denounced the report, stating it was “erroneous” and contained “so many inaccuracies…they’re hard to count.” Now Amazon AWS company CEO has called for Bloomberg to retract its story, as has manufacturer Super Micro’s CEO.
Bloomberg‘s report, which was published earlier this month, claims Chinese spies managed to implant tiny microchips on Super Micro servers in order to get backdoor access to networks. The report alleged that more than two dozen US companies were impacted by the supposed hardware breach, including Amazon and Apple.
Both companies challenged the report within hours of its publication, calling it incorrect and stating that they’d previously talked to Bloomberg for months before the report’s publication. In its own statement, Amazon AWS had said that it had never found any malicious chips or modified hardware in Elemental servers, challenging a statement in the report claiming Amazon had found breached Super Micro motherboards in a Beijing data center.
In a tweet today, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy tweeted a link to Buzzfeed’s recent interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, who called for Bloomberg to retract the report. “@tim_cook is right,” Jassy said, also stating, “Bloomberg should retract.”
In addition, Super Micro has published a letter to its customers expressing doubt over the report, pointing out that “technical implausibility” makes it very unlikely spies managed to add a chip to the board. In the letter, which has been published by the SEC, Super Micro said:
Our motherboard technology involves multiple layers of circuitry. It would be virtually impossible for a third party, during the manufacturing process, to install and power a hardware device that could communicate effectively with our Baseboard Management Controller because such a third party would lack complete knowledge (known as “pin-to-pin knowledge”) of the design. These designs are trade secrets protected by Supermicro. The system is designed so that no single Supermicro employee, single team, or contractor has unrestricted access to the complete motherboard design (including hardware, software, and firmware).
Super Micro points out that Bloomberg has not presented a single modified motherboard.