Following a string of denials from the company itself, “multiple senior Apple executives” have now spoken to BuzzFeed News regarding Bloomberg’s puzzling story alleging server infiltration by a Chinese spy chip. The executives, who spoke under the condition on anonymity, strongly denied the story to BuzzFeed and offered more details on the internal Apple investigation.
BuzzFeed says that it reached out to “multiple Apple sources” regarding the story, three of them “very senior executives who work on the security and legal teams.” Those sources said they are at a loss as to how to explain the allegations made in Bloomberg’s initial report.
The Apple investigation internally, the sources said, consisted not just of the claims made in the story, but also any unrelated incidents that could have prompted such claims.
“We tried to figure out if there was anything, anything, that transpired that’s even remotely close to this,” a senior Apple security executive told BuzzFeed News. “We found nothing.”
A senior security engineer directly involved in Apple’s internal investigation described it as “endoscopic,” noting they had never seen a chip like the one described in the story, let alone found one. “I don’t know if something like this even exists,” this person said, noting that Apple was not provided with a malicious chip or motherboard to examine. “We were given nothing. No hardware. No chips. No emails.”
Additionally, one source explained that Apple is not doing anything to hide the truth in the China infiltration case, saying it did not “secretly remove comprised servers, or discover compromised servers during the acceptance process and stop short of deploying them.”
A senior Apple legal official who spoke with BuzzFeed News said the company is bound by no confidentiality order or agreement. “We are not restrained in any way,” this executive said. Asked point blank if Apple is lying to the public in the interests of national security, this executive replied, “No.”
Apple’s response to the Bloomberg Businessweek claim is essentially unprecedented. The company issued a scathing statement right after the report was published, and followed that statement up with full press release entitled “What Businessweek got wrong about Apple.”
What’s next in this ongoing situation remains unclear, but BuzzFeed News suggests the Apple investigation internally into the claims is over as it believes it has done all that it can.