Supermicro tells customers it is looking for Chinese spy chips on motherboards ‘despite lack of proof’ – SCMP

What happened: Computer hardware firm Supermicro said yesterday (October 22) that it would review its motherboards for malware chips, which according to a report by Bloomberg had been planted by Chinese spies during the manufacturing process in China. The company said that it was undertaking a “complicated and time-consuming” review of its products the lack of proof that the chips existed.

Why it’s important: Compromised Super Micro motherboards allegedly made their way into the servers of multiple US government agencies and 20 companies, including Amazon and Apple. Bloomberg claimed that their use would give Beijing access to internal networks. However, Supermicro has denied the claims, while Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the article should be retracted. Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy joined Cook in suggesting a retraction. Analysts have said that the placement of the chips is plausible, but would result in very high costs. Additionally, every compromised motherboard increases the risk of detection.

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.