Some said that certain allegations were plausible, but that the strong denials from companies cited in the piece left them with doubts about whether the attacks had happened.
Unnamed government sources told Bloomberg the source of the attack was the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese government. We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources.
According to the report, the tiny chips were implanted in server motherboards purchased from Super Micro Computer, a publicly-traded San Jose company that was described as the "Microsoft of the hardware world". "One government official says China's goal was long-term access to high-value corporate secrets and sensitive government networks". As for Super Micro, it denied that it introduced the chips during the manufacturing phase. The report states that US investigators found that the tiny microchip was inserted during the manufacturing process by the People's Liberation Army.
Chinese spies were able to add small, undocumented chips to motherboards in data servers bought by big United States tech companies, according to a blockbuster investigation by Bloomberg published Thursday.
"While we would cooperate 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", Super Micro's statement said.
Super Micro Computer said it was "not aware" of any government investigation into the issue and no customer had stopped using its products because of fears about Chinese hackers.
Bloomberg reported that AWS uncovered the malicious chips in 2015 when examining servers manufactured by a company known as Elemental Technologies, which AWS eventually acquired. Once a loyal customer of Supermicro, the publication says that the iPad and iPhone maker found the malicious chips in 2015, cutting ties with the company in 2016.
Supermicro reportedly assembled server motherboards for the startup and after forensic examination, it was found that tiny chips embedded in the board were not part of the original design.
Apple was one of the victims of the apparent breach, according to Bloomberg.
Apple said in a statement it had "never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server".
The report comes amid increased concerns that foreign intelligence agencies infiltrating USA and other companies via so-called "supply chain attacks", particularly from China where multiple global tech firms outsource their manufacturing.
The chips on Elemental servers were created to be as inconspicuous as possible, according to one person who saw a detailed report prepared for Amazon by its third-party security contractor, as well as a second person who saw digital photos and X-ray images of the chips incorporated into a later report prepared by Amazon's security team.