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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

32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.

1 hour ago - World

Biden huddles with European allies on Ukraine ahead of Putin call

Putin in the Kremlin. Photo: Grigory Sysoyev/Sputnik via Getty

President Biden will seek to convince Russia's Vladimir Putin in a phone call Tuesday that the price of invading Ukraine would be steeper than anything he's faced in the past.

Driving the news: Biden held a call on Ukraine this evening with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., while Secretary of State Tony Blinken called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer America's "unwavering support."