Apple Insiders Say Nobody Internally Knows What’s Going On With Bloomberg’s China Hack Story

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed News: Multiple senior Apple executives, speaking with BuzzFeed News on the condition of anonymity so that they could speak freely all denied and expressed confusion with a report earlier this week that the company’s servers had been compromised by a Chinese intelligence operation. On Thursday morning, Bloomberg Businessweek published a bombshell investigation. The report — the result of more than a year of reporting and over 100 interviews with intelligence and company sources — alleged that Chinese spies compromised and infiltrated almost 30 U.S. companies including Apple and Amazon by embedding a tiny microchip inside company servers. Both Amazon and Apple issued uncharacteristically strong and detailed denials of Bloomberg’s claims.

Reached by BuzzFeed News multiple Apple sources — three of them very senior executives who work on the security and legal teams — said that they are at a loss as to how to explain the allegations. These people described a massive, granular, and siloed investigation into not just the claims made in the story, but into unrelated incidents that might have inspired them. A senior security engineer directly involved in Apple’s internal investigation described it as “endoscopic,” noting they had never seen a chip like the one described in the story, let alone found one. “I don’t know if something like this even exists,” this person said, noting that Apple was not provided with a malicious chip or motherboard to examine. “We were given nothing. No hardware. No chips. No emails.” Equally puzzling to Apple execs is the assertion that it was party to an FBI investigation — Bloomberg wrote that Apple “reported the incident to the FBI.” A senior Apple legal official told BuzzFeed News the company had not contacted the FBI, nor had it been contacted by the FBI, the CIA, the NSA or any government agency in regards to the incidents described in the Bloomberg report. This person’s purview and responsibilities are of such a high level that it’s unlikely they would not have been aware of government outreach.