Both Apple and Amazon discovered the surveillance chips in 2015 and took steps to replace the affected servers, according to the report, which described close cooperation between US investigators and affected companies.
The chips, which Bloomberg said have been the subject of a top secret US government investigation starting in 2015, were used for gathering intellectual property and trade secrets from American companies and may have been introduced by a Chinese server company called Super Micro that assembled machines used in the centers.
Chinese spies were able to add a small, undocumented chip to data servers sold to the U.S. government and big tech companies, according to a blockbuster investigation by Bloomberg. Bloomberg claims Amazon discovered them ahead of its 2015 acquisition of Elemental Systems and reported the chips to the Federal Bureau of Investigation before removing them all within a one-month period.
A third-party security testing firm hired by Amazon found the chips on servers from a company called Elemental Technologies, which Amazon acquired to bolster its streaming video business, according to the report.
However, the Chinese government, Apple, Amazon, and an unnamed USA government official who spoke to the Washington Post disputed this claim. Apple reportedly severed ties with Super Micro in 2016.
A blockbuster Bloomberg report that Chinese spies infiltrated the networks of Amazon Web Services and Apple was met with unusually detailed pushback from two usually reticent companies Thursday.
The tech giant further stated that it was "accidental" and was not a "targeted attack against Apple".
However, Bloomberg's sources are adamant. United States investigators, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, declined to comment. S. government agencies, which would give Beijing secret access to internal networks. It's also untrue that AWS knew about servers containing malicious chips or modifications in data centers based in China, or that AWS worked with the FBI to investigate or provide data about malicious hardware. We've found no evidence to support claims of malicious chips or hardware modifications. A spokesperson said: "China is a resolute defender of cybersecurity".
Apple denied the account, saying it had investigated the claims.
Apple denied it had ever found malicious chips.
News of the years-long infiltration of secure networks through the lowest levels of the global industrial supply chain - China still manufactures the majority of the raw tech behind the world's mobile phones and personal computers - reflects not just a coup for the Chinese intelligence community, but an alarming vulnerability of the USA industrial base.
The U.S. and China are locked in a bitter and escalating trade war, in which hundreds of billions of U.S. and Chinese products are under tariff.