Late last week, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that our old pal China is spying on us through tiny chips installed by the People's Liberation Army on domestically-produced motherboards that ended up in servers across the USA, at companies including Apple, Amazon, and as many as 28 others.
"The NCSC engages confidentially with security researchers and urges anybody with credible intelligence about these reports to contact us", it said.
The Department of Homeland Security is aware of the media reports of a technology supply chain compromise. Both companies as well as their server supplier vehemently denied there was any espionage happening, and Businessweek denies it got the story wrong.
Apple has also supplied a letter to US Congress at this point, stating that no evidence was found to support claims of tampered motherboards. The statement adds that DHS has no reason "at this time" not to believe the statements from companies like Apple, Amazon and Supermicro denying the existence of the tiny spy chips.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Saturday it now had no reason to doubt statements from companies that have denied a Bloomberg report that their supply chains were compromised by malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence services.
Apple and Amazon, two companies identified as victims of the hack, refuted Bloomberg's claims in statements on their websites.
Apple's Vice President for Information Security George Stathakopoulos wrote a letter to the House and Senate commerce committees that the company's security systems, which monitor for the type of malicious activity purported, had found nothing.
"In essence, this story seems to pass the sniff test", says Theo Markettos, who is on the security team at Cambridge University's Computer Lab. This chip was said to act as a back door for Chinese spies, allowing data to be covertly stolen.
In a statement released Saturday, the DHS said that it was "aware" of the report, but added: "Like our partners in the United Kingdom, the National Cyber Security Centre, at this time we have no reason to doubt the statements from the companies named in the story".
Bloomberg has stuck by its report, insisting on its veracity.