China secretly inserted surveillance microchips into servers used by major technology companies, including Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., in an audacious military operation likely to further inflame trade tensions between the United States and its leading source of electronics components and products, Bloomberg Businessweek reported late last week.
The article detailed a sweeping, years-long effort to install the surveillance chips in servers whose motherboards — the brains of the powerful computers — were assembled in China. The servers of one affected company were used by U.S. government clients, including Department of Defense data centers, Navy warships and CIA drone operations.
The extent of the data China collected from the surveillance chips was not clear from the report, and no consumer information was known to have been stolen, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. But it said a top-secret U.S. government investigation, dating from 2015 and involving the FBI, remains open.
The story cited 17 unnamed sources, including industry insiders and current and former U.S. officials. The Chinese government, Apple, Amazon and other involved companies disputed the report to Bloomberg Businessweek, and the FBI and U.S. intelligence officials declined to comment.
One U.S. official told the Washington Post Thursday morning that the thrust of Bloomberg Businessweek's reporting was accurate. This person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss matters not approved for public release.
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