The tech giants, the US and the Chinese spy chips that never were… or were they? | John Naughton

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A sensational Bloomberg story about a major hardware hack was swiftly denied. But the journalists aren’t backing down

On 4 October, Bloomberg Businessweek published a major story under the headline “The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate US Companies”. It claimed that Chinese spies had inserted a covert electronic backdoor into the hardware of computer servers used by 30 US companies, including Amazon and Apple (and possibly also servers used by national security agencies), by compromising America’s technology supply chain.

According to the Bloomberg story, the technology had been compromised during the manufacturing process in China. Undercover operatives from a unit of the People’s Liberation Army had inserted tiny chips – about the size of a grain of rice – into motherboards during the manufacturing process.

Intelligence agencies might be reluctant to draw public attention to supply-chain interference given that they all do it

Related: Are you a ‘cyberhoarder’? Five ways to declutter your digital life – from emails to photos

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