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Tim Cook demands Bloomberg retracts spy chips story
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-10-19 18:58:18

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with BuzzFeed News, went on the record for the first time to deny allegations that his company was the victim of a hardware-based attack carried out by the Chinese government. And, in an unprecedented move for the company, he called for a retraction of the story that made this claim.

I have zero reason to believe anything Apple or Tim Cook says on this matter. Apple is utterly and wholly dependent on the Chinese government, and assuming the Bloomberg story is 100% accurate, I doubt Tim Cook would openly side with Bloomberg and thus openly attack the Chinese government. Xi Jinping can literally make or break Apple - the American company cannot build its iPhones anywhere else, as not only would it take an utterly massive hit in its margins, it would take years - possibly even decades - to train the amount of staff needed to build that many iPhones. Apple simply has no choice but to bend over backwards for the Chinese government, which is why Apple readily hands over all of its Chinese customers' data to the Chinese government.

That being said, this doesn't automatically mean the Bloomberg story is 100% accurate. I don't believe in crazy conspiracy theories - conspiracy theories are dumb - about coordinated leaks by the Trump administration to discourage American companies from building their products in China. The Trump administration is wholly and utterly inept at doing anything and is held together only by a common desire to oppress women and minorities and sack America before the curtain falls, so I doubt they could even arrange a single secret meeting with Bloomberg journalists without Trump incoherently tweeting about it or somebody resigning over it.

The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, and only time will tell where, exactly, that middle lies.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-16
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Hah
By Kancept on 2018-10-19 20:29:22
Funny enough, I just attended a talk today by an agent that confirms Bloomberg is way more correct than Apple on this. in fact, it was predominantly Apple and another company that were mentioned throughout the conversation.
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Comment by Drumhellar
By Drumhellar on 2018-10-20 02:23:10
Especially considering not only the difficulty of sneaking a chip onto a board, but how much better it would be to use software hacks (Especially for boards as reportedly buggy as what Supermicro churns out), claims that the Chinese government did this are rather extraordinary.

And, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Bloomberg has provided none.

And, it should be easy to produce an example of the chip, or, hell, even just a photograph!
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Somewhere in the middle of a nothing burger lies...
By quackalist on 2018-10-20 04:20:58
Why demand proofs when you can pander to prejudice
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RE: Hah
By kuiash on 2018-10-20 13:57:20
No offence, but, if you've got further information you should pony it up or what you've said just looks like a biased accusation.
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Comment by M.Onty
By M.Onty on 2018-10-20 14:58:12
> I don't believe in crazy conspiracy theories - conspiracy theories are dumb
That's what they want you to think.
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RE: Comment by Drumhellar
By gan17 on 2018-10-20 17:03:23
Has anyone reached out to Supermicro? Strange how little we've heard from them, considering it's their product at the center of all this.

Edited 2018-10-20 17:03 UTC
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Comment by MadRat
By MadRat on 2018-10-20 19:40:22
If Bloomberg is correct then expect China to lash out using proxies large and small to attack back. A story retraction is not the goal. China will crush them in every imaginable way.

Edited 2018-10-20 19:41 UTC
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Everyone
By Windows Sucks on 2018-10-21 03:24:45
Everyone has said this is bunk! Several US government agency’s (Even though China is a target right now of the US government.) The UK, Australia and others have said its bunk etc.

It’s not just Apple saying it’s bunk. Not sure why anyone one would believe a non tech publication that is regularly wrong about Apple and Amazon stories and then trust them with a story like this.

Guess people who hate on Apple will believe anything negative in relation to them.

Edited 2018-10-21 03:35 UTC
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RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
By Windows Sucks on 2018-10-21 03:34:18
https://www.supermicro.com/newsro...

“Supermicro has never been contacted by any government agencies either domestic or foreign regarding the alleged claims.

Supermicro takes all security claims very seriously and makes continuous investments in the security capabilities of their products. The manufacture of motherboards in China is not unique to Supermicro and is a standard industry practice. Nearly all systems providers use the same contract manufacturers. Supermicro qualifies and certifies every contract manufacturer and routinely inspects their facilities and processes closely.”
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Comment by atsureki
By atsureki on 2018-10-21 04:25:43
On one side, we've got an article about a chip with the size and connectivity of a filtering capacitor having the capabilities and access of a northbridge controller being physically concealed on motherboards. It cites no named sources, and at least one person claiming to be among the unnamed sources has suggested the article may have spun his speculation about hypothetical methods directly into allegations of fact.

On the other side, we've got major U.S. tech companies describing, in detail, how they secure their supply chains and use heuristic monitoring to make sure they didn't miss anything, and stating in no uncertain terms that the events described in the article, like discovering suspicious chips and contacting the FBI, did not occur. Additionally, we have the testimony of numerous infosec experts saying that such a hardware attack is less feasible and no more effective than software vectors.

It's not unreasonable to point out that Tim Cook has an enormous vested interest in the article being false, but lucky for him, the facts suggest the article is false.

I'd even go so far as to say that the mere speculation of such an attack is good reason to move away from having all the machines that run the world built within the jurisdiction of a hostile totalitarian state, but, again, lucky for us, it appears to be only speculation.
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