DataCenterNews Asia logo
Specialist data center news for Asia
Story image

Supermicro, Apple, & Amazon vs crippling scandal – who’s lying?

By Ashton Young
Sat 6 Oct 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

How much damage a little report can do!

It’s unlikely that there was very much sleep going on at some of the data center titans last night, as a new report has dug up a potentially gigantic scandal.

Bloomberg released its findings in an article that was published yesterday, claiming that Supermicro had sold motherboards containing malicious chips to almost 30 US customers, including Apple and Amazon. The article says the chips were planted by Chinese spies to enable backdoor access to all private networks the mother systems were involved with.

In the wake of this report Supermicro’s stocks have collapsed more than 40 percent, while Amazon and Apple each saw their stocks decline around two percent – despite all three aforementioned companies purporting the claims to be false.

Now then, to the report. Bloomberg News says the report is rock solid and based on more than a year of investigations and more than 100 interviews. On top of this, it is claimed to have inputs from multiple former and current Apple and Amazon employees, in addition to current and former US national security officials.

According to the report, Amazon first discovered the malicious chips three years ago in 2015 as a result of an overhaul following its acquisition of Elemental. The company then reported this to the relevant authorities which prompted an investigation by US intelligence agencies that is still ongoing today.

Similarly, Apple (already a big Supermicro customer) was on the verge of buying a further 30,000 servers from Supermicro in 2015 when it also discovered the chip.

Of course these are all allegations, but if true, they could blow the industry apart far beyond this trio of companies. For example, other big players like IBM and Intel are both known Supermicro customers.

In terms of how the motherboards became affected, Bloomberg claims Supermicro’s systems and components are manufactured in China with some of that work then subcontracted to other companies. The Chinese military then took advantage of these subcontractors to secretly plant the illicit chips.

Since the article painted headlines around the world, Supermicro has released a statement with input from both Apple and Amazon.

“In an article today, it is alleged that Supermicro motherboards sold to certain customers contained malicious chips on its motherboards in 2015. Supermicro has never found any malicious chips, nor been informed by any customer that such chips have been found,” the statement reads.

Amazon Web Services chief information security officer Steve Schmidt was also steadfast in his commentary.

"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,” says Schmidt.

Similarly, a statement from Apple attempted to rubbish Bloomberg’s claims.

"We are deeply disappointed that in their dealings with us, Bloomberg's reporters have not been open to the possibility that they or their sources might be wrong or misinformed. Our best guess is that they are confusing their story with a previously reported 2016 incident in which we discovered an infected driver on a single Supermicro server in one of our labs. That one-time event was determined to be accidental and not a targeted attack against Apple."

To put it all in perspective, a recent IDC report states Supermicro to have shipped 175,000 servers in the second quarter of this year, making it the fifth largest vendor in terms of units shipped, shared with Huawei.

So the question remains, just who is lying? We will keep you updated as this case evolves.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Sustainability
Legrand unveils Nexpand, a data center cabinet platform
Legrand has unveiled a new data center cabinet platform, Nexpand, to offer the necessary scalability and future-proof architecture for digital transformation.
Story image
Sustainability
Daikin and SP Group to build new energy efficient district cooling system
The project, set to be complete by 2025, will create a system with a cooling capacity of up to 36,000 refrigerant tonnes (RT). 
Story image
Sisense
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Colocation
Digital Edge chooses Nortek’s StatePoint for new data center
Digital Edge will use Nortek's StatePoint liquid cooling technology in its new data center, the first commercial colocation operator in Asia to do so.
Story image
Akamai
Akamai announces new products across security, computing
Akamai has announced a series of new products and updates to existing products across its security and compute product lines, including its entry into the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market.
Story image
Data Center
CBRE finds record levels of investment in APAC data centers
CBRE's new report finds direct investment in the sector more than doubled in 2021, surpassing investment volumes for the past four years combined
Story image
Storage
Energy storage demand momentum continues, says BYD
BYD has announced an expansion of its production capacities and will deliver 250,000 units of its energy storage system, BYD Battery-Box Premium.
Story image
Infrastructure
Report - Data investment the key to better business growth
New research from Digital Realty has revealed that almost half (47%) of IT leaders globally believe their business investment in data systems and infrastructure is a key obstacle or concern.
Story image
Data Center
Digital Edge to build South Korea's largest commercial data center
The project will be the largest commercial data center project in South Korea with total IT power of 120MW and a capital investment of more than KWR$1 trillion.
Story image
Red Hat
Red Hat expands capabilities to provide streamlined application development in cloud
"Application development is undergoing significant change and developers need tools to support this transformation."
Story image
Microsoft
SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to deliver 204% return - study
The Forrester Total Economic Impact study finds SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure brings a 204% return on investment over three years.
Story image
Data Center
Tier III Ready Datacenter solutions shortlisted for major awards
"These designs will accelerate data center clients' own Tier III certification, reduce the cost, and fast-track their time to market."
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Sustainability
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - SoftIron CMO on Data Center Sustainability
In a special Power/Energy feature week presentation, we are joined by SoftIron CMO Andrew Moloney.
Story image
Kacific
Kacific launches service to combat enterprise power outages
Kacific Broadband Satellites Group has launched Enterprise Backup, a new service intended to protect organisations against frequent power outages.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Sustainability
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Cable
New high-performance cable in the works for Asia
A new high-performance submarine cable is being built to enhance connectivity between Hong Kong, China and Southeast Asia.
Story image
BitTitan
Why tenant consolidation is critical to cloud success
Consolidating tenants can improve cost management, security and engagement after a flurry of reactive activity following the widespread shift to remote operations.
Story image
SaaS
Cisco reveals new tech, intends to prevent network issues
Cisco has revealed new technology intended to mitigate costly disruptions by aiding IT teams in learning, predicting and planning.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Sustainability
YTL unveils development of solar-powered data center campus
YTL Power (YTL) has announced the development of a 500MW data center campus in Johor, the first data center park in Malaysia to be powered by solar energy.
Story image
Disaster Recovery
Kacific launches emergency connectivity offering, CommsBox
Kacific has announced the release of a new emergency connectivity offering designed to rapidly provide broadband service in emergency or disaster zones.
Story image
Sustainability
AirTrunk boosts Japan presence with West Tokyo data center
AirTrunk is planning to build TOK2, a new hyperscale data center in Japan which will strengthen the company’s presence in the country.
Story image
SD-WAN
Orange moves Siemens AG’s entire operations to a SD-WAN
Orange Business Services has migrated Siemens AG's entire global operations, 1168 sites across 94 countries, to a SD-WAN
Softiron
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Cloud
Colt connectivity with AWS increases services in Asia
Colt Technology Services expands cloud connectivity to AWS Direct Connect Hosted services, with speeds of up to 10 Gbps in Asia.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Data Center
Sime Darby Berhad to use Equinix APAC data centers
Equinix has expanded its digital infrastructure services, including its International Business Exchange data centers, to Sime Darby Berhad
Story image
Sustainability
ABB unlocks sustainable energy upgrades for data centers
ABB says its new microgrid solutions will get data centers ready for the green revolution and use their own energy sources with a reduced carbon footprint.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Power / Energy
Keysight Technologies introduces new next-gen DPT solution
Keysight Technologies has announced its new next-generation Double-Pulse Tester (DPT) with the PD1550A Advanced Dynamic Power Device Analyser.
Story image
Sustainability
RDA and MVGX partner for sustainable data center development
Red Dot Analytics (RDA) and MetaVerse Green Exchange (MVGX) have entered a strategic partnership to make Singapore's data center development and operations more sustainable.
Story image
Data Center
Equinix enters Africa, closing US$320 million acquisition of MainOne
The completion of the acquisition augments Equinix's long-term strategy to become a leading African carrier-neutral digital infrastructure company.
Story image
APAC
Odaseva expands in APAC and UK with more security features
Odaseva, a data platform for Salesforce, is establishing new headquarters in London as well as a new data center in India.
Story image
Talend
Talend introduces new data health solutions for businesses
Talend has announced its latest version of Talend Data Fabric, with the release of Talend Trust Score enabling data teams to establish a foundation for data health.
Story image
Tech Data
Tech Data to use Pluribus Networks’ cloud solutions in APAC
Tech Data says using Pluribus Networks' Unified Cloud Fabric solution will be a "game-changer" for its data center infrastructure customers and partners.
Story image
Telstra
Telstra expands business offerings in the Philippines
The expansion aims to offer more choice for customers and enhance connectivity into the Philippines, and within the country.
Story image
Hyperscale
Seagate, Phison partnership to improve data center offering
Seagate and Phison have announced plans to expand their SSD portfolio to assist data center customers in reducing total cost ownership (TCO).
Story image
Research
New strategies for cloud-native attacks - Aqua Security
New research from Aqua Security reveals attackers are using more sophisticated techniques to target cloud-native environments.
Story image
Power / Energy
DigitalBridge makes $30 million equity investment in LEDC
Leading Edge Data Centres (LEDC) has announced it has secured an AUD$30 million equity investment in its regional edge network from an affiliate of DigitalBridge Group, DigitalBridge.
Story image
Surveillance
Genetec launches new enclosure management system for data centers
Genetec has released a new enclosure management solution that will give data centers the ability to secure, monitor and manage access to racks and cabinets remotely.
Story image
Sustainability
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
Databricks
Databricks grows in APAC market, expands into Korea
Databricks officially launches a local office in Seoul, Korea, building on existing partnerships with Cloocus, Megazone and the Weverse Company