updated 09:46 am EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
Huawei servers allegedly penetrated by NSA, possibility of hardware compromise
In an interesting reversal, Snowden-leaked documents are pointing to a pervasive infiltration of Chinese electronics manufacturer Huawei's servers. The NSA's "Operation Shotgiant" allegedly probed connections between Huawei and the Chinese army, but also aimed to attack technology manufactured by the company and use the compromised technology for worldwide surveillance.
The New York Times and Germany-based Der Spiegel evaluated the NSA documents and disclosed the potential hacks undertaken by the NSA. Huawei's Global Security Officer John Suffolk slammed the NSA and the report, saying that "if the actions in the report are true, Huawei condemns such activities that invaded and infiltrated into our internal corporate network and monitored our communications." Suffolk noted that "corporate networks are under constant probe and attack from different sources -- such is the status quo in today's digital age."
The leaked documents purport that the NSA had access to Huawei servers in the company's headquarters. Documents copied by the NSA included a database of 1,400 clients, as well as a large assortment of internal training documentation.
Speaking of the NSA hack and previous allegations that Huawei was engaged in similar activities with its hardware against US interests, Suffolk said that ""I can't say what American firms do. We have never been asked to hand over any data to a government or authority, or to facilitate access to our technology, and we wouldn't do this either. Our position on this point is very clear."
A draft report Congress debated in October of 2012 suggested that Huawei and rival ZTE should be locked out of the US market over security concerns. The US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee argued that the two companies were subject to the influence of the Chinese government. The committee believed, and continues to claim, that it is in the best interests of US firms to avoid purchasing products from either Huawei or ZTE.