China has been caught in one of the biggest hacking attacks ever after microcomputer chips were discovered in equipment that was sent to 30 top America technology companies including Amazon and Apple.
According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report released this week, multiple national security and intelligence officials have claimed that Chinese spies placed the chips in hardware sent to U.S. tech giants to get access to their internal networks.
“Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design. Amazon reported the discovery to U.S. authorities, sending a shudder through the intelligence community,” writes Bloomberg. “During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines.”
The officials interviewed for the report said that the supply chain attack has been the most significant one ever committed and that they have evidence linking it to Chinese intelligence.
“Multiple people familiar with the matter say investigators found that the chips had been inserted at factories run by manufacturing subcontractors in China,” writes Bloomberg. “The chips had been inserted during the manufacturing process, two officials say, by operatives from a unit of the People’s Liberation Army.”
30 companies have been affected according to the 17 unnamed intelligence officials Bloomberg interviewed for the report.
“In all, 17 people confirmed the manipulation of Supermicro’s hardware and other elements of the attacks. The sources were granted anonymity because of the sensitive, and in some cases classified, nature of the information,” writes Bloomberg.
However, a spokesman for Supermicro, the company suspected of shipping the hardware with the tiny chips, has said the company was unaware of the investigation.
Apple Inc and Amazon Web Services have both denied that their systems were penetrated with the chips.
“It’s untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental,” wrote Amazon.
“On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server,” wrote Apple.
This report was released in the same week that two top U.S cybersecurity officials warned that China has increased hacking activity ever since the Trump administration introduced new tariffs on the country.
China has invested heavily in cyber warfare, it’s “hacker army” is estimated to be at anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people.
Last year, the exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui said that there are 25,000 Chinese spies in the U.S., 15,000 of which are American recruits.
Author’s note: This is just more evidence that China is robbing us blind and is bugging hardware to steal trade secrets, but also to spy on the government.
Editor’s note: If this is as it is described, then statistically it was guaranteed to eventually be uncovered (think about it thousands of computers with a hardwired mod, that transmits). This means the Chinese don’t give a crap if they get caught, they are not afraid of anything the U.S. might do in retaliation.