All that said, it also seems plausible that Businessweek's sources (the people working for the respective companies and government divisions at the time the story was reported) have no fucking idea what they are talking about (security authorities are divided on whether this hack would work, why anyone would even do it this way, and whether Businessweek is fully, accurately describing it). But the three companies featured in the story-Apple, Amazon, and Supermicro-have all issued broad and strongly worded denials. Amazon says it is "untrue" that it knew of "servers containing malicious chips or modifications in data centres based in China", or that it "worked with the FBI to investigate or provide data about malicious hardware". "At no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in Super Micro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems", he says.
Both Apple and Amazon denied the article's claims on Thursday, writing that the reporting was inaccurate and that they had never been affected by malicious chips. "Apple has never found malicious chips, "hardware manipulations" or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server".
Over the weekend, Apple received backup from the Department of Homeland Security, which issued a statement that "we have no reason to doubt the statements from the companies named in the story". "You should know that Bloomberg provided us with no evidence to substantiate their claims and our internal investigations concluded their claims were simply wrong". DHS said they have no reason to doubt them or believe otherwise.
The Verge added the statements made by the companies were backed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Apple's recently retired general counsel, Bruce Sewell, told Reuters he called the FBI's then-general counsel James Baker previous year after being told by Bloomberg of an open investigation into Super Micro Computer Inc, a hardware maker whose products Bloomberg said were implanted with malicious Chinese chips.
"I got on the phone with him personally and said, 'Do you know anything about this?'", Sewell said of his conversation with Baker. As the Register wrote, Apple and Amazon's denials were unusually firm, and it's possible that government sources overplayed the threat-though the site also found it "inconceivable that [Bloomberg] would publish a story this huge that wasn't watertight". One notable example of which occurred in 2013, when following revelations made by Edward Snowden the company insisted that it did not provide the US government "with direct access to [its] servers". But it remains unclear whether this was a photograph of an actual board or a digital recreation.