According to a report published by Bloomberg News, tiny chips the size of a grain of rice were inserted in US computer hardware that was manufactured in China to steal technology secrets. The news report states that the chips were used on computer equipment manufactured for Amazon, which first notified the US authorities regarding the possibility, Apple, and potentially also for a number of other government agencies and companies.
The report states that a 3-year clandestine investigation, which still remains open, allowed spies to develop a doorway for stealing technology secrets from computer equipment; a hardware-based stealth doorway is more effective and much harder for detection as compared to software hacks. Referring to unnamed US executives, Bloomberg has states that a unit of the People’s Liberation Army was associated with the operation that integrated the chips in the equipment that was manufactured in China for US-based computer company SuperMicro Computer Inc.
According to Bloomberg, Supermicro Inc. also manufactured computer hardware for the data centers in the Department of Defense and networks onboard Navy warships. The report states that the problem was discovered by Amazon when the company acquired the software company Elemental and undertook a security review of hardware manufactured by Supermicro.
According to the report, the tiny chips were designated for motherboards utilized in data centers of Amazon Web Services, Apple, and other companies and organizations. In a statement, Apple states that it has never found hardware manipulations, malicious chips, or purposely planted vulnerabilities in any of its servers. In a statement released recently, Amazon states that it has never, in past or present, found any concerns associated with malicious chips or modified hardware in any Amazon systems, Elemental systems, or Supermicro motherboards.