The plot thickens.
In a follow-up to its bombshell report about a Chinese supply-chain attack on major U.S. companies including Apple and Amazon via the server manufacturer Supermicro, Bloomberg says bad actors also infiltrated the servers with malware. Two of the companies affected by the software attack: Apple and Facebook.
In a departure from Amazon and Apple’s denial over the previous reports, both Facebook and Apple confirmed that they found malware on their Supermicro servers.
Facebook says that it was made aware of servers with compromised firmware in 2015 on “a limited number of Supermicro hardware” that were only used “for testing purposes confined to our labs.” In other words, Facebook says the attack did not affect users. Hmm. Still not a great look for a company dealing with a data breach that affected 50 million people.
Apple says it discovered malware on a single server in 2016. This does not conflict with its denial of hardware attack; in fact, it bolsters it, because Apple cites the malware as the reason it dropped Supermicro as a vendor in its official statement — not the presence of malicious microchips in servers.
The confirmation by both companies is still significant, however, because it confirms that Chinese actors have made attempts to compromise U.S. security. This is something the Chinese government is denying, per Bloomberg. What’s unclear now is the extent of the breach and whether, or why, Amazon and Apple may have had reason to deny the chip attack.