Bloomberg said security testing by Amazon in 2015 had revealed the existence of tiny chips that were not part of the original mainboard design and that this led to an extensive investigation by US Government agencies which found servers built using these boards in data centres belonging to the Department of Defence, on warships, and for processing data being handled by CIA drones.
The agency said that major banks were also using servers made by Supermicro and that the government investigation led to several companies getting rid of the SuperMicro equipment.
Amazon said the Bloomberg story was untrue. "At no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems. Nor have we engaged in an investigation with the government," the company said in a detailed post.
Bloomberg’s big CPU hack. pic.twitter.com/iQVUQEjTRs— Kevin Beaumont (@GossiTheDog) October 4, 2018
"Each time, we have conducted rigorous internal investigations based on their inquiries and each time we have found absolutely no evidence to support any of them. We have repeatedly and consistently offered factual responses, on the record, refuting virtually every aspect of Bloomberg’s story relating to Apple."
Amazon refuted some of the allegations in the story that related to its involvement, saying: "The article also claims that after learning of hardware modifications and malicious chips in Elemental servers, we conducted a network-wide audit of SuperMicro motherboards and discovered the malicious chips in a Beijing data centre.
"This claim is similarly untrue. The first and most obvious reason is that we never found modified hardware or malicious chips in Elemental servers."
Supermicro said in a statement: "While we would co-operate with any government investigation, we are not aware of any investigation regarding this topic nor have we been contacted by any government agency in this regard. We are not aware of any customer dropping SuperMicro as a supplier for this type of issue."
And the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: "We hope parties make less gratuitous accusations and suspicions but conduct more constructive talk and collaboration so that we can work together in building a peaceful, safe, open, co-operative and orderly cyber space."