Report: China Used Tiny Chips to Infiltrate the U.S. Supply Chain

Arkadiusz Komski/

A Chinese company targeted data centers of some of the largest commercial companies, according to a report.

Tiny surveillance microchips, produced by Chinese company SuperMicro, were placed inside hardware within data centers used by Apple, Amazon and other large U.S. tech companies, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The chips were allegedly used to gather information like trade secrets and intellectual property. According to the report, 30 U.S. companies were affected, but no consumer data was stolen.

Citing anonymous government and corporate sources, Bloomberg reported that Apple first discovered the issue in 2015, then reported it to the FBI and that Amazon also informed the authorities after it found the chips in hardware within its own data centers. 

Apple, Amazon and SuperMicro have denied all of the allegations made in the report. 

"As we shared with Bloomberg BusinessWeek multiple times over the last couple months, at no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems.‎ Additionally, we have not engaged in an investigation with the government," an Amazon Web Services spokesperson told Nextgov.

This is not the first instance of alleged hacking conducted by China. In July, the country targeted Internet of Things devices in Helsinki during a summit between the U.S. and Russia. That same month, a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed that China continually steals U.S. business secrets