Security & Fraud

FBI Urges Caution On Chinese Amazon/Apple Hack Reports

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FBI Director Christopher Wray had this to say about recent allegations that spy chips from China had been placed into servers owned by tech giants such as Apple and Amazon: “Be careful what you read.”

According to CNBC, Wray made the comments during a hearing in front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday (October 10) after being asked when the FBI found out about the chips.

“I would say to the newspaper article or, I mean, the magazine article, I would say be careful what you read,” Wray replied. “Especially in this context.”

He added that he couldn’t go into specifics because the agency won’t confirm or deny that an investigation is underway. “I do want to be careful that my comment not be construed as inferring or implying, I should say, that there is an investigation,” said Wray. “We take very seriously our obligation to notify victims when they’ve been targeted.”

Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, also couldn’t offer any additional insight into the story: “With respect to the article, we at DHS do not have any evidence that supports the article,” she said. “We have no reason to doubt what the companies have said. We continue to look into it. What I can tell you, though, is it is a very real and emerging threat that we are very concerned about. So we are working very closely with the private sector, within our federal family, and certainly to put our own house in order to make sure that we are locking down every step of that supply chain.”

The companies named in the report have denied the allegations. While Amazon said it found “no evidence to support claims of malicious chips or hardware modifications,” Apple reported that “over the course of the past year, Bloomberg has contacted us multiple times with claims” of security incidents. “We have repeatedly and consistently offered factual responses, on the record, refuting virtually every aspect of Bloomberg’s story relating to Apple,” said the statement. “On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server. Apple never had any contact with the FBI or any other agency about such an incident. We are not aware of any investigation by the FBI, nor are our contacts in law enforcement.”

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