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China Security Hardware

The Chinese Telecom That Spooks the World 153

Posted by samzenpus
from the trust-us dept.
wrekkuh writes "The Economist has printed an interesting look at the concerns and speculations of the fast-growing Chinese telecom giant Huawei, and its spread into western markets. Of particular concern is Huawei's state funding, and the company's founder, Ren Zhengfei, who once served as an engineer in the People's Liberation Army (PLA). However, another article from The Economist goes into greater detail about the steps Huawei has taken to mitigate some of these concerns in England — including co-operating with the GCHQ in Britain, the UK's signals-intelligence agency, to ensure equipment built by Huawei is not back-doored."
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The Chinese Telecom That Spooks the World

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  • Re:racism much? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 05, 2012 @05:01PM (#40888823)

    Citation needed.

    Right... because when the CIA backdoors equipment, they always post a page about it on Wikipedia.

    You could start with this, though [wired.com], to get the general idea of what they want.

  • The reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @05:04PM (#40888837) Journal
    The Reason the US is concerned about other countries using telecommunication equipment for spying is because they have done it already. A lot.

    If you don't want to be spied on, encrypt it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 05, 2012 @05:44PM (#40889127)

    Read this.
    http://www.theparliament.com/latest-news/article/newsarticle/cyber-security-john-suffolk/ [theparliament.com]
    CSEC get to see and test the source code (first line of penultimate paragraph). They aren't just pen-testing black boxes.

    I'm posting purely public information as Anon because I know far more about this than I'm allowed to say.

  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @05:55PM (#40889193)
    ZDNet [zdnet.com], CNN [cnn.com].
  • by chihowa (366380) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @06:02PM (#40889247)

    Looking at source code is even more useless in this case than examining the black boxes that are actually being deployed. It's difficult to prove that the source they're looking at is what is on the actual sold devices. And looking at the source gives no information about backdoors implemented in hardware.

  • Re:Dear USA people: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 05, 2012 @06:14PM (#40889301)

    see how I inoculated my comment against yours?

    It doesn't make what you say true. At least China only censors within China, while the USA censors within the whole world.

    So there is no equivalence indeed: the USA is widely considered the larger threat.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 05, 2012 @07:43PM (#40889903)

    I work for a telco supplier, so have had glimpses into the weird world of what happens behind the shonky service and bills.

    Huawei when they started out produced kit that was 'very similar' to Cisco. Now you suggest that perhaps they were paying too much homage to their US competitor, but it did mean their kit was pretty easy to deploy. You can setup a VPN in IOS, you can switch to Huawei kit and barely notice the difference.

    Next bit of their success was how they engaged with the customer. Legacy vendors have whole stacks of sales all hell-bent on shafting the telco for as much money as possible. Huawei wanted a foothold, kit was cheaper, but they really put in some effort to push the sale - Buy your new network from us, and we'll let you buy it on lease over a decade, our engineers will install/config/support it for you, we'll tweak stuff if it currently doesn't do what you want etc. Legacy vendors might have got a bit of a kicking from the dot.com crash, but they still dragged in the overly-complex vendor structure that makes that makes the proposal of similar flexible solutions somewhat difficult. Simply meant that if you were a small player with a valid business model, picking Huawei allowed you to very easily work out what the kit was going to cost you.

    With regards to spying, if they were, it wouldn't be let anywhere near the tier zeros. As far as I can make out, there's no real evidence of China using Huawei to spy and most of the allegations come from the incumbents/vested interests, trying to come up with a reason to oppose the shift in purchasing.

    If you're worried about back-doors - don't. They're already everywhere. I've been in plenty of offices which have the 'special room' that everything has to go through and telco employees don't even have the keys to. So just to carry on with this, if your kit DOESN'T have a back-door, it ain't going to be deployed. The only real topic of interest is just working out who holds the back-door-keys.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 05, 2012 @11:30PM (#40891107)

    it would be very easy for them to introduce something far smaller, and far more dangerous. For example, a kill switch.

    They could, sure. And some people think the CIA has AES cracked. These people didn't think before forming an opinion. You don't put a backdoor on a sytem you yourself use, because if you do an enemy (who might not use your system) will be able to shut you down once it finds the backdoor.

    A private, for-profit company would never invest in such things

    Oh, boy, aren't you naive. Companies will do anything for money. A big company is not much different from a big government - both have great power and a great urge to abuse that power. Search for Room 641A.

  • by Agent ME (1411269) <agentme49@nospAm.gmail.com> on Monday August 06, 2012 @01:00AM (#40891545)

    They practically are backdoored: they're insecure as hell. http://phenoelit.org/stuff/Huawei_DEFCON_XX.pdf [phenoelit.org]

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