Apple tells Congress it was never hacked by Chinese spy chips

Apple denies that any of its data centers were affected by Chinese spies. 

James Martin/CNET

Apple sent a letter to Congress Monday doubling down on its denial of a Chinese spy chip report.

The letter comes in response to a story Bloomberg Businessweek published Thursday. The story cited anonymous sources who said Apple and Amazon were targeted by Chinese spies who implanted surveillance microchips into their data center equipment during the manufacturing process.

Both Apple and Amazon denied the article’s claims on Thursday, writing that the reporting was inaccurate and that they had never been affected by malicious chips. Bloomberg said it stands by its reporting, even as the Department of Homeland Security and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre backed up Apple and Amazon’s denials. 

George Stathakopoulos, Apple’s vice president of information security, told members of Congress in the letter that the reports aren’t true. 

“Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server. We never alerted the FBI to any security concerns like those described in the article, nor has the FBI ever contacted us about such an investigation,” Stathakopoulos wrote. 

The letter was sent to Sen. John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey and Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon. 

Thune is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which keeps an eye on data privacy and how companies handle your information

Apple said it’s been in contact with Bloomberg’s reporters since October 2017, and repeatedly asked them to provide specific details about the alleged malicious chips before the article published. 

Stathakopoulos added that if “any of the reported details” were true, Apple would have been upfront about the potential supply-chain attack. The Apple executive has offered to brief the Congress members this week for further information on Bloomberg’s report. 

Bloomberg didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Stathakiopoulos’ letter. 

You can read the full letter here: 

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