The Information had much of Bloomberg’s Apple story 19 mos. ago

Print Email

But without the Chinese, their spy chip or the denials of intelligence agencies on both sides of the pond.


From Amir Efrati’s Apple Severed Ties with Server Supplier After Security Concern ($), posted Feb. 23, 2017:

In early 2016, Apple discovered what it believed was a potential security vulnerability in at least one data center server it purchased from a U.S.-based manufacturer, Super Micro Computer, according to a Super Micro executive and two people who were briefed about the incident at Apple. The server was part of Apple’s technical infrastructure, which powers its web-based services and holds customer data.

Apple ended up terminating its years long business relationship with Super Micro, according to Tau Leng, a senior vice president of technology for Super Micro, and a person who was told about the incident by a senior infrastructure engineering executive at Apple. The tech giant even returned some of Super Micro’s servers to the company, according to one of the people briefed about the incident.

There is conflicting information about the exact nature of the vulnerability and the circumstances surrounding the incident. According to Mr. Leng, an Apple representative told its account manager at Super Micro via email that Apple’s “internal development environment was being compromised” because of firmware it downloaded to certain microchips within servers it had bought from Super Micro.

Apple, insisting that Efrati got key details wrong, referred me to a statement quoted by The Information at the time:

An Apple spokesman told The Information in a statement that Apple was “not aware of… infected firmware found on the servers purchased from this vendor.”

The Apple spokesman declined to describe the nature of the problem Apple discovered. There’s no evidence the episode resulted in theft of data from Apple, and the Apple spokesman specifically said that the company was “not aware of any data being transmitted to an unauthorized party.”

My take: Without the promise of a Chinese spy chip, Efrati’s story didn’t get much traction.

See also: No Chinese spy chip, says deep state