Erik Wemple, writing for The Washington Post:
Nearly a year ago, Bloomberg reported that China had penetrated
the U.S. high-tech infrastructure via a hardware hack affecting
some brand-name companies including Apple and Amazon Web Services,
as well as prominent server-maker Supermicro. The “Big Hack,”
however, sustained denials from the companies themselves, top
government officials and cybersecurity experts. Apple chief
executive Tim Cook called for a retraction. (Amazon founder Jeff
Bezos is the owner of the Washington Post).
Responding to setback after setback, Bloomberg issued the same
statement: “We stand by our story and are confident in our
reporting and sources.”
Now we know that Bloomberg’s external show of confidence matches
its internal thinking. In a memo to staff on Monday, Bloomberg
News Editor in Chief John Micklethwait announced that Michael
Riley — the second co-byline on “The Big Hack” along with Jordan
Robertson — would be taking on the expanded role of cybersecurity
czar at the news outlet.
Wemple is being generous, if not euphemistic, in describing Bloomberg’s “The Big Hack” story as “challenged”. It’s more than “challenged” — it is disputed by all parties involved and one year later, not one whit of evidence has been produced that a single word of it is true, nor has there been a single corroborating report from another publication. Security researchers and competing news publications have spent countless hours over the last year searching for any proof of these “grain of rice”-sized chips on motherboards that grant backdoor access to servers, and found nothing.
You can’t prove a negative, but by all appearances, “The Big Hack” was complete bullshit. Bloomberg reporters Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley were sold a bill of goods by government sources looking to make China look bad and ran with it, and Bloomberg, as a publication, has closed its eyes and stuck its collective fingers in its ears for the last year, refusing to do what they obviously need to do and fully retract the story.
And now they’ve promoted Riley to “cybersecurity czar” for the entire outlet. Jiminy.
★ Tuesday, 1 October 2019