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Huawei Denies Security Threat Allegations

Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Sunday, September 9, 2012
9:12 pm

On August 28th, I blogged that CNET reported on a congressional committee that wanted to know whether Huawei was a national security threat.

According in an article this week in ThreatPost, Huawei issued a position paper addressing the allegations.  John Suffolk, Huawei’s global cyber security officer stated:

“We have never damaged any nation or had the intent to steal any national intelligence, enterprise secrets or breach personal privacy and we will never support or tolerate such activities, nor will we support any entity from any country who may wish us to undertake an activity that would be deemed illegal in any country.

“Huawei does not, and would not, support, condone or conduct activities intended to acquire sensitive information related to any country, company or individual, nor do we knowingly allow our technology to be used for illegal purposes.”

Whether or not Huawei is culpable has yet to be proven or disproven conclusively, but the current tenuous conditions in the cybersecurity field has many people on edge.  The ThreatPost article quoted Shawn Henry, a former FBI official:

“It’s hard to explain the threat to some organizations. Some people get it, but many don’t. The entire threat out there is kind of like an iceberg. The part that most people hear about is the part above the water line, the unclassified threats. People don’t hear about what’s below the water line, which is everything that’s happening in the classified environments. It doesn’t get a lot of attention outside of the classified environment, but I can tell you that it’s deep and broad and extensive.”

It is indeed a challenging world we live in. Let’s be careful out there!


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Article: Inside Huawei, the Chinese tech giant that’s rattling nerves in DC

Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
6:59 am

A Pegasus constructed entirely out of Huawei Ascend smartphones sat on the grounds of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, just one of the many ways the company made its presence felt.CNET reported today on a congressional committee wants to know whether Huawei, a telecommunications powerhouse is a national security threat.

Huawei is much larger than I realized:

Huawei is the second largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world, behind only Sweden’s Ericsson. It generated $32 billion in revenue last year, selling its networking technology to such global giants as Vodafone, Bell Canada and Telekom Malaysia, though only smaller U.S. carriers Leap and Clearwire use the company’s gear. Huawei’s heft has allowed it to pour resources into adjacent markets, such as mobile handset development and data center technology that’s already paying off with new customers and billions more in revenue. …

And Huawei is a patent machine, with about 50,000 patents filed worldwide. Though accused years ago of pilfering the innovations of Cisco and others, Huawei gets credit these days for breakthroughs in complex technologies such as radio access networking that lets mobile carriers support multiple communications standards on a single network. It also pioneered the dongles that consumers slip into laptops to wirelessly connect to the Web.

Because of their size, power and national origin, some are very worried:

The broader concern, though, is of a dangerous marriage of Huawei’s capability — it wants to build a massive swath of the telecommunications network, from routers and switches to the phones consumers use — with the Chinese government’s motive and intent. A report last year from the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive found that the Chinese are the “world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.” The committee wants to thwart the possibility Chinese cyberattacks in the United States over Huawei’s technology before the company, which has only a modest U.S. presence, grows into a powerhouse here. …

Hawks in the federal government remain unconvinced that his company is merely a financial success story. They worry that Huawei, whose technology provides infrastructure to communications networks, is a tool of the Chinese government, potentially enabling it to snoop on critical corporate and government data through digital backdoors that Huawei has the ability to install.

I don’t know the answers here, but this is certainly food for thought.

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