Apple, Amazon deny report on Chinese hardware attack

“Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server,” the Cupertino-based company said. (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2018
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Apple, Amazon deny report on Chinese hardware attack

  • Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Chinese spies had placed computer chips inside equipment used by around 30 companies
  • Bloomberg reported that the malicious chips were planted by a unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

LONDON: Apple and Amazon denied a Bloomberg report on Thursday that their systems contained malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence, statements from the tech companies released separately by Bloomberg showed.
Bloomberg Businessweek cited 17 unnamed intelligence and company sources as saying that Chinese spies had placed computer chips inside equipment used by around 30 companies, as well as multiple US government agencies, which would give Beijing secret access to internal networks.
Reuters was unable to reach Apple, Amazon or representatives with the FBI, Dept of Homeland Security Agency and National Security Agency for comment.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a written request for comment on Thursday. Beijing has previously denied allegations of orchestrating cyberattacks against Western companies.
Amazon, in a statement published by Bloomberg, said: “We’ve found no evidence to support claims of malicious chips or hardware modifications.”
Apple said it had refuted “virtually every aspect” of the story in on-record responses to Bloomberg. “Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server,” the company said.
Bloomberg reported that the malicious chips were planted by a unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, which infiltrated the supply chain of a hardware company called Supermicro. The operation is thought to have been targeting valuable commercial secrets and government networks, the news agency said.
A representative for Supermicro at its European headquarters in the Netherlands said the company was unable to provide an immediate comment.
There have been increased concerns about foreign intelligence agencies infiltrating US and other companies via so-called “supply chain attacks,” particularly from China where multiple global tech firms outsource their manufacturing.
The US government on Wednesday warned that a hacking group widely known as cloudhopper, which Western cybersecurity firms have linked to the Chinese government, has launched attacks on technology service providers in a campaign to steal data from their clients.
The warning came after experts with two prominent US cybersecurity companies warned this week that Chinese hacking activity has surged amid the escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing.


UK core pay growth strongest in nearly 11 years, but jobs growth slows

Data showed the unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent as expected. (Shutterstock)
Updated 16 July 2019
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UK core pay growth strongest in nearly 11 years, but jobs growth slows

  • Core earnings have increased by 3.6 percent annually, beating the median forecast of 3.5 percent
  • The unemployment rate fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million

LONDON: British wages, excluding bonuses, rose at their fastest pace in more than a decade in the three months to May, official data showed, but there were some signs that the labor market might be weakening. Core earnings rose by an annual 3.6 percent, beating the median forecast of 3.5 percent in a Reuters poll of economists. Including bonuses, pay growth also picked up to 3.4 percent from 3.2 percent, stronger than the 3.1 percent forecast in the poll. Britain’s labor market has been a silver lining for the economy since the Brexit vote in June 2016, something many economists attribute to employers preferring to hire workers that they can later lay off over making longer-term commitments to investment. The pick-up in pay has been noted by the Bank of England which says it might need to raise interest rates in response, assuming Britain can avoid a no-deal Brexit. Tuesday’s data showed the unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent as expected, its joint-lowest since the three months to January 1975. The number of people out of work fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million. But the growth in employment slowed to 28,000, the weakest increase since the three months to August last year and vacancies fell to their lowest level in more than a year. Some recent surveys of companies have suggested employers are turning more cautious about hiring as Britain approaches its new Brexit deadline of Oct. 31. Both the contenders to be prime minister say they would leave the EU without a transition deal if necessary. A survey published last week showed that companies were more worried about Brexit than at any time since the decision to leave the European Union and they planned to reduce investment and hiring. “The labor market continues to be strong,” ONS statistician Matt Hughes said. “Regular pay is growing at its fastest rate for nearly 11 years in cash terms and its quickest for over three years after taking account of inflation.” The BoE said in May it expected wage growth of 3 percent at the end of this year.