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China Networking Security Hardware IT

China Telco Replaces Cisco Devices Over Security Concerns 180

Posted by timothy
from the tit-for-tat-for-tit-etc dept.
hackingbear writes "China Unicom, the country's second largest telecom operator, has replaced Cisco Systems routers in one of the country's most important backbone networks, citing security reasons [due to bugs and vulnerability.) The move came after a congressional report branded Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. security threats in the United States, citing bugs and vulnerability (rather than actual evidence of spying.) Surprising to us, up to now, Cisco occupies a large market share in China. It accounts for over a 70 percent share of China Telecom's 163 backbone network and over an 80 percent share of China Unicom's 169 backbone network. Let's wait to see who's the winner in this trade war disguised as national security."
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China Telco Replaces Cisco Devices Over Security Concerns

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:45PM (#41785351)

    Posting as AC, because this is one of my areas of research. And it is impossible to "tear down the chips" like you think it is. If you only alter the chips in 1 out of 400 routers... thats enough to provide a lot of access in and of itself. And this would be statistically very hard to find. (even if you dissolve the upper layers of the IC and then progressively examine the ICs)

    Plus this isn't an issue of just the hardware alone, it has to do with the intractability of hardware AND software combinations. Perhaps the "backdoor"s only "activate" when they receive a certainly formatted UDP packet, etc...

    It isn't easy to find things like this in IC circuits... despite how easy you would think it is...

    This PROBABLY isn't as big an issue as the politicians are hyping it up (on both sides of the isle) BUT... just like how the US has ITAR (International Trafficking of Arms Regulations) about both weapons and "things that can help a foreign military... and POTENTIAL backdoor into a major USA ISP... is s potential security (and national security{in terms of infrastructure}) issue...

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:52PM (#41785399)

    A few things...

    I'm quite certain that by now, many intelligence organizations have taken the chips apart and scanned them down [for backdoors] and if they'd found anything there would have been a reaction.

    You are grossly underestimating the complexity of modern microchips. What you're describing simply isn't feasible for any chip of even modest complexity. To hunt for backdoors, you would really need to look at the HDL files, and even then, it wouldn't be hard to hide something malicious in one of the hundreds of test modes.

    China has us by the balls on rare earth metals, and most of our consumer electronics are made in Asia. If they decide to play economic hardball, we're going to lose.

    You're also overestimating China's position. There are plenty of rare earth metals outside of China. It's actually to China's detriment that they're the chief supplier right now. As the supply of easily accessible minerals goes down, the value will go up -- the countries that wait the longest before ramping production will benefit the most. As for consumer electronics, what are they going to do? Stop making iPhones? If anything, that could be a short term boon to our economy, as we would suddenly have a motive to build a bunch of new factories and hire a bunch of workers. The increased cost of electronics would bug people for a while, but eventually they'd get used to it, and maybe even stop throwing away perfectly good phones every couple years. Meanwhile, what happens to China's economy when they cut out their largest trade partner?

    Now, I agree that we spend waaay too much on our military, and but your attitude is way too negative. I get that there's a lot of anti-American propaganda on the internet, and it's easy to be taken in by it, but it's mostly baseless. China will develop for a while longer, their people will demand a fair wage, their quality of life will increase, and things will even back out. The Chinese people aren't a bunch of worker ants, emotionlessly toiling away for the good of the hive. The media likes to present them that way, just as they used to do with Japan, because it's scary, and scared people consume more news.

    People often predict end times in their life time. I suspect it's because life can be dull and a part of them wants to live in "interesting times". The truth is much more banal. England's a perfect example of a "fallen" superpower, and they seem to be doing quite alright.

  • by morcego (260031) on Friday October 26, 2012 @10:40PM (#41786193)

    It is interesting how easily people forget.

    Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Japan was the one copying, making knockouts and whatnot. But what happened is exactly what you described: they learned. And that is exactly what is happening to China right now.

  • by m00sh (2538182) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @12:22AM (#41786709)

    As for paranoia, the US should be paranoid about Cisco stuff be made in China. It certainly gives me the willies.

    Don't worry, the generation after you won't share the same sentiment. Each successive generation have seen larger and larger portions of the world as their "empathy circle". People identifying themselves by country is just a few generations old; before that people identified themselves more by the city or province they were from and before that a clan they belonged to. The future generations will see the a Chinese as just another person living their lives and trying to generally make things better. They certainly won't get willies imagining them as enemies fervently trying to take something away from you.

  • by scubamage (727538) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:50AM (#41786989)

    As for America's "proactive" foreign policy, no foreign army has set foot on American soil in anger since 1815.

    The crew of the USS Arizona would like to have a word with you.

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