Apple’s design lab internal development servers was infected by a malware so the company ended its relationship with Supermicro server supplier.
It was mid-2016 when Apple’s design lab internal development servers was infected by a malware that was masquerading as a fake firmware patch.
In response to the security incident, Apple purged its data centers of servers built by Supermicro, including returning recently purchased systems.
“In early 2016, Apple discovered what it believed was a potential security vulnerability in at least one data center server it purchased from a U.S.-based manufacturer, Super Micro Computer, according to a Super Micro executive and two people who were briefed about the incident at Apple.” reported the theinformation.com. “The server was part of Apple’s technical infrastructure, which powers its web-based services and holds customer data.”
A source familiar with the case at Apple told Ars that the malicious firmware was downloaded directly from Supermicro’s support site, and the malicious code is still hosted there.
Apple denied the security breach, but the senior vice-president of technology t Supermicro, Tau Leng, told The Information that the company had ended its relationship with Supermicro because of the infection in the App Store development environment. Leng also confirmed Apple returned the systems it had recently purchased.
The trend for cloud giants is the slight migration to custom hardware designed by system integrators to cut the cost of the data center.
According to Leng, Apple was the only company to be infected by a fake firmware, this means that the root cause of the security breach was not in the Supermicro’s servers. He asserted that when his company asked Apple’s engineers to provide information about the firmware, they gave an incorrect version number—and then refused to give further information.
Leng also added that information about the firmware version shared by Apple’s engineers was incorrect (wrong version number).
An Apple spokesperson reached out by Ars defined the story “completely inaccurate.”
Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer.
Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US.
Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines.
Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.