Today Bloomberg released a report stating that, at the direction of the Chinese Government, a massive China based ‘board’ manufacturer named SuperMicro added hardware to servers that were sold to Amazon and Apple. While the specific details of what was implant is not fully known yet, it is safe to say that such a hack would almost certainly:
- give complete access to all data running through the servers in question
- provide at least some access to non-infected servers
On its face this is the kind of hack you want to go running from if you are a major multinational like Apple or Amazon. However, I have worked in the tech industry for decades with companies like IBM and Digital Equipment, and never once even heard of a company checking there hardware boards for add-on chips or modules. It is truly a credit to Apple and Amazon that they caught this.
Take a look at the graphic to the right to see that SuperMicro’s customers are massive. SuperMicro is the worlds third largest manufacturer of servers so it is very likely that other tech firms, non-tech firms and even governments have the same, or similar, hardware hack but strangely no one is talking about this possibility yet.
To be blunt I do not like Apple but I have to give them full credit for finding this hack. I like most of Amazon and again I am willing to extend them full credit for finding this hack.
You can watch the video below or read the Bloomberg article for more details.
Unfortunately both companies are downplaying and denying the reports, even though one of the most credible business news organizations is the world is standing behind their report claiming:
- they have an unprecedented 17 senior Apple, Amazon and Government sources
- they were tipped off to the hack by one of the companies insiders
If the story is true, and that APPEARS to be a virtual certainty, Apple and Amazon should get out in-front of the story and take credit for finding such a sophisticated hack. If they spin it right they could come out as big winners. If they keep denying it, and it proves true, they lose credibility, customers, good will, share value…
My politician wife is fond of saying “You should eat your crow while it is young and tender” but Amazon and Apple should be able to turn their “crow” into filet mignon.