Apple's Tim Cook asks Bloomberg to retract Chinese hacking story

Apple's Tim Cook asks Bloomberg to retract Chinese hacking story
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Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling for Bloomberg Businessweek to retract a story that claimed its systems had been hacked by the Chinese government.

Cook issued the call just over two weeks after Bloomberg Businessweek published the story

“There is no truth in their story about Apple,” Cook told BuzzFeed News on Friday.

Bloomberg had reported that the supply chain for information technology company Super Micro had been compromised by the Chinese government.

Super Micro motherboards had been modified with chips allowing hackers to access systems they were installed in, the report said.

The motherboards were later shipped to companies including Apple, Amazon and government contractors, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Super Micro, Apple and Amazon have all denied the veracity of Bloomberg’s report, while Bloomberg has stood by its story.

“Bloomberg Businessweek's investigation is the result of more than a year of reporting, during which we conducted more than 100 interviews,” a spokesperson told The Hill in an emailed statement on Friday.

“Seventeen individual sources, including government officials and insiders at the companies, confirmed the manipulation of hardware and other elements of the attacks. We also published three companies’ full statements, as well as a statement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources,” they continued.  

Cook told BuzzFeed News on Friday that he had been involved with Apple's early communication with Bloomberg about the report.

“I personally talked to the Bloomberg reporters along with Bruce Sewell who was then our general counsel. We were very clear with them that this did not happen, and answered all their questions," said Cook. "Each time they brought this up to us, the story changed and each time we investigated we found nothing.”

Cook also attacked Bloomberg for not providing Apple with more detailed information and evidence about the basis of their reporting.

The exact information Bloomberg provided Apple and Cook is unclear and it’s not uncommon for reporters to not share the all the details behind what they’ve found in their reporting with the subjects they’re reporting on.

“We turned the company upside down,” Cook said. “Email searches, data center records, financial records, shipment records. We really forensically whipped through the company to dig very deep and each time we came back to the same conclusion: This did not happen. There's no truth to this.”

Amazon and Super Micro have also vehemently rejected the report, but have said little since it was published.

Apple has issued a public statement, written to lawmakers on the matter and repeatedly refuted the story to reporters.