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Photo: Guirong Hao via iStock / Getty Images

Following up on its controversial story accusing China of implanting chips into Supermicro server motherboards to spy on companies, Bloomberg now reports that a researcher found a different implant in an unnamed company's Supermicro system.

The details: Yossi Appleboum, co-CEO of Sepio Systems, claims to have found a hardware implant in the "ethernet connector" of a telecom company's Supermicro motherboard in August. He could not reveal to Bloomberg what company he found the implant in due to a non-disclosure agreement.

The backdrop: Bloomberg's first story took flack after Homeland Security, the British cybersecurity agency NCSC, and the companies it named — Supermicro, Apple and Amazon — all denied the story.

What the new story means: The latest story provides a new data point that Supermicro systems were involved in espionage. That provides some general support for the first story.

  • It does not show evidence the implant in the first story existed, or that any of the narratives arround Apple and Amazon discovering that first implant in the first story were true.
  • The new story is based on the experiences of a single person and the secrecy around the target makes it hard for a third party to verify. "This would makes more sense in firmware than hardware," tweeted former NSA hacker Jake Williams, the founder of Rendition Infosec.
  • It matters whether the spying tool is hardware or firmware. Firmware, the code embedded in physical devices, is easier to replace than hardware. And it's more likely that spies could tamper with firmware without the cooperation of a company like Supermicro than that they could slip a chip into the assembly of a motherboard.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

U.S. releases report finding Saudi prince approved Khashoggi operation

Photo: Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released an unclassified report assessing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) approved the operation to "capture or kill" Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Driving the news: The White House also announced sanctions on entities implicated in the murder, though not on MBS directly. Officials also announced a new "Khashoggi ban" under which individuals accused of harassing journalists or dissidents outside their borders can be barred from entering the U.S.

About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says

Joe Biden speaks during an event commemorating the 50 million COVID-19 vaccine shots. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Nearly 1 in 5 adults and nearly half of Americans 65 and older have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt said on Friday.

The big picture: The Biden administration has previously said it has secured enough doses to vaccinate most of the American population by the end of July.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: Employers mull COVID vaccine requirements — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategyPfizer begins study on 3rd vaccine dose as booster shot against new strains.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.