Apple CEO urges Bloomberg to retract spy chip story

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(Reuters) – Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook on Friday told an online news website that Bloomberg should retract a story that claimed Apple’s internal computer systems had been infiltrated by malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence agents.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, speaks during a demonstration of the newly released Apple products following the launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Bloomberg said it stood by its report, published earlier this month.

“There is no truth in their story about Apple,” Cook told BuzzFeed News in an interview with the online publication. “They need to do that right thing and retract it.”

Apple confirmed the accuracy of the BuzzFeed News report to Reuters but declined to comment further.

Cook’s comments follow a denial by Apple that Bloomberg included in its story, a statement posted on Apple’s own website, and a letter to U.S. lawmakers.

Apple declined to say whether it planned to take legal action against Bloomberg.

In response to questions from Reuters about Cook’s request for a retraction in the BuzzFeed News story on Friday, Bloomberg reiterated that it was confident of its reporting, conducted over more than a year. The news agency said that 17 sources confirmed “the manipulation of hardware and other elements of the attacks.”

Bloomberg had reported that a unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army infiltrated the supply chain of computer hardware maker Super Micro Computer Inc to plant malicious chips that could be used to steal corporate and government secrets.

Bloomberg said in its report that some 30 companies and multiple U.S. government agencies were targeted by the chips, which would give Beijing secret access to internal networks.

Super Micro also has denied the report.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Ken Li in New York; editing by Peter Henderson

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