Story image

US intelligence agencies accuse Huawei & ZTE of spying - again

15 Feb 18

Four United States intelligence agencies are warning that Chinese technology giant Huawei may spy on customers who own Huawei smart devices – but they are not sharing any hard evidence to prove it.

At the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, the director of national intelligence, as well as chiefs from the NSA, FBI and CIA warned against organisations including Huawei and ZTE and their efforts to expand into the United States market.

The chiefs warned US citizens not to use any devices made by Huawei or ZTE. It forms another chapter in a debate that has been raging in the United States since at least 2011.

“We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks,” FBI director Chris Wray says.

“That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.”

China is a hotbed for state-sponsored hackings and cyberespionage, according to ThreatMetrix statistics, however there is no evidence to prove that Huawei or ZTE is up to anything untoward in this case.

That has not stopped Arkansas senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio from trying to ban US Government use of services and equipment from Huawei and ZTE.

"Huawei is effectively an arm of the Chinese government, and it's more than capable of stealing information from U.S. officials by hacking its devices," Cotton says in a statement.

 "There are plenty of other companies that can meet our technology needs, and we shouldn't make it any easier for China to spy on us,” Cotton continues.

"Chinese telecom companies, like Huawei, are directly linked to the Chinese government and communist party. For national security reasons, we cannot allow a foreign adversary to embed their technology in U.S. government systems or critical infrastructure,” adds Rubio.

Huawei, however, believes the accusations are part of a larger government effort to slow down the company’s expansion into the US.

“Huawei is aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the U.S. market,” a Huawei representative reportedly said in a statement.

In other statements, Huawei said it committed to adhering to US laws and even includes US-made chipsets, operating systems and other components in its devices.

“Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities.”

This is not the first time US intelligence officials have warned against foreign-made products – last year cybersecurity firm Kaspersky’s products were banned from US government agencies after claims of cyberespionage. 

Disruption in the supply chain: Why IT resilience is a collective responsibility
"A truly resilient organisation will invest in building strong relationships while the sun shines so they can draw on goodwill when it rains."
Verifi takes spot in Deloitte Asia Pacific Fast 500
"An increasing amount of companies captured by New Zealand’s Anti-Money laundering legislation are realising that an electronic identity verification solution can streamline their customer onboarding."
Businesses too slow on attack detection – CrowdStrike
The 2018 CrowdStrike Services Cyber Intrusion Casebook reveals IR strategies, lessons learned, and trends derived from more than 200 cases.
What disaster recovery will look like in 2019
“With nearly half of all businesses experiencing an unrecoverable data event in the last three years, current backup solutions are no longer fit for purpose."
Proofpoint launches feature to identify most targeted users
“One of the largest security industry misconceptions is that most cyberattacks target top executives and management.”
McAfee named Leader in Magic Quadrant an eighth time
The company has been once again named as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management.
Symantec and Fortinet partner for integration
The partnership will deliver essential security controls across endpoint, network, and cloud environments.
Is Supermicro innocent? 3rd party test finds no malicious hardware
One of the larger scandals within IT circles took place this year with Bloomberg firing shots at Supermicro - now Supermicro is firing back.