China planted chips in Apple and Amazon servers, report claims

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A Chinese military unit has been inserting tiny microchips into computer servers used by companies including Apple and Amazon that give China unprecedented backdoor access to computers and data, according to a new Bloomberg report.

The tiny chips, as small as the tip of a sharpened pencil and designed to be undetectable without specialist equipment, were implanted on to the motherboards of servers on the production line in China, the report in Bloomberg Businessweek said.

Technology shares in Hong Kong fell sharply on Friday led by Lenovo, which lost 23% in morning trade. The Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp lost more than 14%.

The chips were reportedly developed by a specialised computer hardware attack unit in the People’s Liberation Army, and gave hackers unfettered access to anything the server did, allowing them to potentially manipulate the server to steal data, contact other servers and alter operations.

“Having a well-done, nation-state-level hardware implant surface would be like witnessing a unicorn jumping over a rainbow,” Joe Grand, a hardware hacker and the founder of Grand Idea Studio, told Bloomberg.

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