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Report: Huawei, ZTE possibly involved in espionage for China

updated 10:20 am EDT, Sat October 6, 2012

US committee report scheduled to be released on October 8

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) and C.A. Ruppersberger (D-MD) are preparing to issue a report October 8 on a year-long investigation of smartphone and equipment manufacturers Huawei and ZTE Corp. The US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has been examining whether the companies' expansion in the US market enables Chinese governmental espionage and endangers the telecommunications infrastructure of North America.

US companies in business transactions with Huawei should "find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers' privacy, and you care about the national security of the United States of America," Representative Mike Rogers told CBS News's 60 Minutes.

In response to Rogers' assertion William Plummer, spokesman for Huawei said "Huawei is a globally trusted and respected company doing business in almost 150 markets with over 500 operator customers, including nationwide carriers across every continent save Antarctica. The security and integrity of our products are world proven. Those are the facts today. Those will still be the facts next week, political agendas aside."

Executives for both Huawei and ZTE denied the allegations from the intelligence committee hearing, claiming to not be controlled by the Chinese government. Former US government foreign technology analyst Jim Lewis was asked if Huawei were ordered by the Chinese government to spy on the US, and he answered that said "the state tells them what to do and they do it."

US officials skeptical of ZTE's motives found those fears supported in part when the company admitted earlier this year that its Score smartphone model -- and perhaps other models -- contained a hardwired backdoor exploit allowing anyone with knowledge of its hardwired password to take control of the handset. ZTE maintains that the feature was meant only to push software updates, though security experts contend there are much less suspicious ways to accomplish that.

ZTE claims that it is being as forthcoming and transparent with US government officials as possible and will cooperate with regulators. A statement from the company said that ZTE will look to demonstrate to the US Congress its "unique ability" to provide cyber security solutions both for congress and the executive branch.

Huawei is doing work on the telecommunications infrastructure in Kansas and a few other rural markets. The president of United Wireless, Craig Mock, tells Kroft he did business with Huawei because he didn't know of any other American company that made the equipment he needed. As a result of the deal, Mock was visited by federal agents who reviewed the terms of the deal, and examined some of the Huawei-provided equipment.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. Zanziboy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-27-08

    It's 30 years too late to worry about foreign telecommunications espionage! The interest in reducing government regulation and increased global sourcing has lead to most of the US telecommunications infrastructure being designed, developed, produced or maintained by overseas consultants and foreign corporations that have little or no concern about threats to US national security. :lol:

    Therefore, it is reasonable to assume there are plenty of intentional and unintentional back door exploits designed into much of America's existing telecommunications infrastructure in everything from the Java in your handset's browser to the IP router delivering transactions to your bank. I'm not sure targeting ZTE makes any sense because the same security problems plague every company in the entire industry.

  1. cgc

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 03-25-03

    Originally Posted by ZanziboyView Post

    It's 30 years too late to worry about foreign telecommunications espionage! The interest in reducing government regulation and increased global sourcing has lead to most of the US telecommunications infrastructure being designed, developed, produced or maintained by overseas consultants and foreign corporations that have little or no concern about threats to US national security. :lol:
    Therefore, it is reasonable to assume there are plenty of intentional and unintentional back door exploits designed into much of America's existing telecommunications infrastructure in everything from the Java in your handset's browser to the IP router delivering transactions to your bank. I'm not sure targeting ZTE makes any sense because the same security problems plague every company in the entire industry.



    Our desire for low low prices sent manufacturing to China and we get stolen industrial secrets and children/dog toys made out of asbestos and lead. Wonderful.

  1. Geoduck

    Junior Member

    Joined: 01-14-10

    While I don't doubt their could be some truth behind this, there is an election going on. I smell more than a little election year politics in the timing of this.

  1. tundaman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-04-10

    Looking back at history concerning accusations like that, it seems more plausible to believe in a political plot to justify repatriation of jobs and money sent overseas than a espionage stunt by chinese companies.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    Originally Posted by ZanziboyView Post

    ...has lead to most of the US telecommunications infrastructure being designed, developed, produced or maintained by overseas consultants and foreign corporations that have little or no concern about threats to US national security. :lol:



    Um, and if it is a US company, what makes you think they would have any concern of US national security vs. making a few $$$? In fact, if the device was US made, I'd be more concerned there was intentional back doors put in at the requirement of the US government (like what is needed to be done with certain telecommunications equipment already).

    And Microsoft is based in Washington state and is where most of Microsoft Windows was developed and maintained. The last thing anyone would claim is that Windows is 'more secure' because it was made in the US vs. overseas!

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by ZanziboyView Post

    It's 30 years too late to worry about foreign telecommunications espionage! The interest in reducing government regulation and increased global sourcing has lead to most of the US telecommunications infrastructure being designed, developed, produced or maintained by overseas consultants and foreign corporations that have little or no concern about threats to US national security. :lol:

    Therefore, it is reasonable to assume there are plenty of intentional and unintentional back door exploits designed into much of America's existing telecommunications infrastructure in everything from the Java in your handset's browser to the IP router delivering transactions to your bank. I'm not sure targeting ZTE makes any sense because the same security problems plague every company in the entire industry.



    Much of the world has very similar concerns about US-made technology and services.

    The assumed back doors exploitable by the US government are one of the reasons for the distrust of the big personal information collectors, Apple and Google.

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