Apple designing its own iCloud servers to avoid surveillance

The NSA is known to intercept tech in-transit through the postal system.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Apple is reportedly building its own servers amid suspicions that its hardware is being intercepted prior to its arrival at the company's datacenters.

(Image: file photo)

A report by The Information (paywalled) said that the iPhone and iPad maker has "long suspected" that servers it orders from the traditional supply chain were intercepted while they were in the mail. That's where "unknown third parties" would add chips and modify firmware to "make them vulnerable to interception."

It became so much of a concern that the company would assign people to "take photographs of motherboards and annotate the function of each chip, explaining why it was supposed to be there," the report said.

Building its own servers in-house on motherboards it designed and manufactured would be a "surefire way" to prevent such interception.

It's not clear exactly when Apple began to suspect its servers were being intercepted. But it wouldn't have been a big surprise given that networking giant Cisco fell victim to the same kind of interception tactics.

Documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that the National Security Agency (NSA) would regularly intercept Cisco equipment in the mail designated for customers, install implants, then place repackaged items back into transit.

Apple's move to create its own servers would indicate a push to develop its own cloud service, rather than rely on third-parties (and rivals), such as Amazon and Google, which currently power Apple's iCloud service.

But also bringing that hardware effort in house would add to the company's ever increasing effort to double-down on security, all while cutting out law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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