NSA security adviser says ‘nobody’s found anything’ on Chinese chips

“NSA senior adviser for cybersecurity Rob Joyce tells Politico that ‘nobody’s found anything’ regarding Bloomberg Businessweek’s report of malicious Chinese chips planted in Super Micro components to spy on U.S. companies,” Brandy Betz reports for Seeking Alpha.

“Alleged victims Apple and Amazon, Super Micro, and China have all denied the reports,” Betz reports. “Telecoms rushed out to deny a follow-up report’s claim that a major U.S. telecom found chips.”

Betz reports, “Joyce says these companies would ‘suffer a world of hurt’ if regulators determined they were lying, suggesting the denials are truthful.”

Read more in the full article here.

A Trio Of Rebukes For China Chip Hack Tale — The aforementioned Joyce, [FBI Director Christopher] Wray and [DHS Secretary Kirstjen] Nielsen all cast doubt in various forms Wednesday on a bombshell Bloomberg Businessweek story about China allegedly compromising chips used in major companies,” Tim Starks reports for Politico. “While government officials have been known to obfuscate before, Joyce and Wray in particular have little reputation for it, and collectively the rebukes represent an enormous blow for a storyline Bloomberg continues to stand by even as some of its sources exit stage left — especially since, as covered above, administration officials haven’t been shy to criticize China lately.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bloomberg Businessweek is all alone on this, out on a limb.

NSA Senior Cybersecurity Advisor questions Bloomberg Businessweek’s China iCloud spy chip claim – October 10, 2018
Before China iCloud spy chip allegations, Bloomberg published these five incorrect stories about Apple – October 10, 2018
U.S. Senators Rubio and Blumenthal demand answers from Supermicro over spy chip allegations – October 10, 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook is in Shanghai in possible PR move after Bloomberg Businessweek’s spy chip yarn – October 9, 2018
One of Bloomberg’s sources told them Chinese spy chip story ‘didn’t make sense’ – October 9, 2018
Apple suppliers took an $18 billion stock hit after Bloomberg’s disputed China hacking report – October 5, 2018
UK cyber security agency backs Apple, Amazon China hack denials – October 5, 2018
Apple official statement: What Bloomberg Businessweek got wrong about Apple – October 5, 2018
Apple strongly disputes Bloomberg BusinessWeek report that Chinese ‘spy’ chips were found in iCloud servers – October 4, 2018


    1. Just another example of how the media is nothing but a bunch of liars their deceitful and bottom line trash. Can’t believe a word they say a statement that they’ve written Nada!

    1. For climate changers, the countries that are addicted to coal, pretty much are weapons of mass destruction. Guess which country is addicted to coal and has no intention of giving it up? Yep, Australia, 60% of its energy is sourced from coal.

      1. Interesting point KenC but there are a couple of things that I don’t buy into it.
        While I’ll agree with your point about Australia’s dependency on coal they are not the top of the coal consuming nations. That distinction goes to China, Apple’s home nation and Japan being the top 3 (Australia is in 9th spot). The reference is a bit dated but I’m sure you can find other references to confirm this.


        Second, coal burning, or any burning for that matter puts carbon dioxide and water into the air. Other pollutants aside plants are an essential component for keeping water and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere stable.

        I think it’s going to have to get cataclysmic before humans try to regulate this but it really doesn’t matter. Regardless of the mass destructive abilities of humans they cannot at this stage totally destroy life, their own species maybe but life can take what humans dish out and flourish one way or the other.

        Food for thought, thanks for the post.

        1. And of course from the same data source, the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2018: US production of coal has dropped 4.7% a year since 2006. That’s the compound rate. The cumulative total is a 33.5% drop in that period.

          While in Australia, coal production has increased 7.9% a year since 2006, for a cumulative total increase of 31%.

          The trends are exact opposites.

          Click to access bp-stats-review-2018-full-report.pdf

          Page 38 for the data.

          1. Your stats are about production of coal. A country can produce a lot of coal but it’s the burning of the coal (consumption) that puts carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A lot of coal producing nations export their coal that other countries burn. That’s why I went to consumption, not production.

            Nice reference by the way, lots of stuff in there.

            I wonder why the interest in Australia by the way?

  1. Why doesn’t Bloomberg simply produce that little chip they photographed on top of that pencil for examination? Why don’t they just explain how they got that chip to photograph?

    Both of those things seem very simple.

    1. That wasn’t a real spy chip. That was a normal 88cent chip that they used to illustrate/hype their story. You can find the exact same chip on Taobao. They won’t be producing a chip since they don’t have one. And when no one agrees with them, they’ll just say everyone is under a national security non-disclose agreement.

      1. I’m not trying to be rude and I understand that Bloomberg could “fake it” to “hype it” but do you know for certain that was a “normal 88cent chip”? The article DID say the suspect chip was made to look like another kind of chip.

        It seems to me that Supermicro would WANT a 3rd party to examine their systems and would provide dozens for that purpose.

  2. MDN, you are too quick to dismiss this because it comes across as anti-Apple. But in the Bloomberg story apple are the victims.
    The technical methods described are possible. This kind of modification and hack is entirely feasible especially in a country like China. If somebody made the story up then they had some extremely technically knowledgable people inventing the details.
    The problem with the story like this is the authorities involved are going to insist that all parties involved keep it hush-hush and under wraps for sake of national security or whatever. Of course Apple supermicro and Amazon are going to deny it.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.