Lawmakers press Super Micro for answers on hacking concerns

Lawmakers press Super Micro for answers on hacking concerns
© Anna Moneymaker

Lawmakers are demanding answers to concerns about reports of Chinese cyber espionage regarding the IT company Super Micro.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioKevin McLaughlin tapped to serve as NRSC executive director for 2020 Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump Senators offer measure naming Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi slaying MORE (R-Fla.) on Wednesday put pressure on the company, asking in a letter that it cooperate with law enforcement and explain more about the potential breach.

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The lawmakers’ concerns stem from a Bloomberg Businessweek report that detailed how the Chinese government was able to take advantage of vulnerabilities in Super Micro’s supply chain to install their own chips onto the company’s motherboards, which it then sold to many American firms including Apple and Amazon.

Super Micro, Apple and Amazon have all refuted the Bloomberg report, saying that their own investigations have not found evidence of a hack or of being compromised in the way described in the report.

Rubio and Blumenthal acknowledged the denials, but say that given the severity of the report, they still want further explanation.

“The nature of the claims raised alarms that must be comprehensively addressed,” the two wrote.

“We are alarmed about the dangers posed by backdoors, and take any claimed threat to the nation’s networks and supply chain seriously,” Rubio and Blumenthal continued. “These new allegations require thorough answers and urgent investigation for customers, law enforcement, and Congress.”

The two asked that Super Micro provide answers to several questions including if Super Micro has ever found evidence of hardware being tampered with, if it has investigated its supply chain as it previously committed to doing and if the Chinese government has ever requested access to Super Micro’s confidential security information.

Blumenthal and Rubio’s letter comes just after news that Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber The Year Ahead: Push for privacy bill gains new momentum On The Money: Trump, Dems battle over border wall before cameras | Clash ups odds of shutdown | Senators stunned by Trump's shutdown threat | Pelosi calls wall 'a manhood thing' for Trump MORE (R-S.D.) had previously sent letters to Apple, Amazon and Super Micro asking them for more answers as well and to brief committee staff on what they knew regarding Bloomberg’s report.