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Apple denies Chinese spy chip story, demands retraction from Bloomberg

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There’s a big battle brewing between Apple and Bloomberg ever since the latter published a damning report about the former. Apple CEO Tim Cook has now entered the fray, strongly denying the publication’s claims against the company. He’s even asking it to retract the story, something which the iPhone maker has never done before.

This saga started about two weeks ago when Bloomberg Businessweek printed an article about Chinese spying. The report alleged that spies had managed to implant malicious chips into Silicon Valley-bound Supermicro servers while they were being assembled in China. These tiny chipsets apparently let hackers create a stealth doorway into the target’s network.

Apple Rubbishes Bloomberg Story

Apple and Amazon were among the 30 US firms named in the article. It seems Apple found out about the compromised hardware in 2015, stopped doing business with Supermicro, and told the FBI about the incident. According to the company though, none of this ever happened. It dismissed the entire story in a statement on its website and a letter to Congress.

An “indignant” Tim Cook has now told BuzzFeed News that there’s no truth to the story. He’s calling upon Bloomberg to do the right thing and retract it. Apple has never taken such a step before. It usually stays silent in the face of rumors or privately asks for retractions. The move has got people buzzing that the article really could be false.

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According to Cook, Apple turned the company upside down trying to find the chip, turning over emails, data centers, shipments, and financial records. Every time Bloomberg approached it for a statement, it investigated the claims and found nothing.

Even Amazon has been similarly dismissive of these accusations. Bloomberg, for its part, has stood by its reporting, even publishing a second article to back up its original story. The media house says it dove into the case for over a year and interviewed over 100 sources including government officials and company insiders.

Apple did offer a possible explanation for this mess in its original statement. It thinks Bloomberg might have gotten confused with a 2016 incident in which Apple discovered an infected driver in a single Supermicro server. It says this was a one-off accident and not a targeted attack against it.