Light Reading
The NSA gives the Huawei 'security threat' story a new angle...

NSA Reportedly Spying on Huawei: What's Chinese for 'Ironic'?

Ray Le Maistre
3/24/2014
100%
0%

In an ironic twist to the war of words between US officials and Huawei, the latest revelations about the NSA's hacking activities shows how the US security agency tapped into the Chinese vendor's servers to monitor its internal communications and learn how its technology works. (See Obama Weighs In on NSA Data Collection.)

According to a report in the New York Times, based on information revealed by whistleblower and Light Reading Hall of Famer Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency was hacking into Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 's systems to check on internal communications -- and to figure out how its technology works so it could hack into comms networks built using Huawei kit -- just as the US authorities were branding Chinese technology suppliers as security threats. (See US vs Huawei/ZTE: The Verdict and Light Reading Announces 2013 Hall of Fame Inductees.)

Not surprisingly, Huawei isn't impressed.

It's official statement, is quite muted, though:

    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. Corporate networks are under constant probe and attack from different sources -- such is the status quo in today's digital age. We reiterate that Huawei disagrees with all activities that threaten the security of networks and is willing to work with all governments, industry stakeholders and customers, in an open and transparent manner, to jointly address the global challenge of network security.

    The security and integrity of our corporate network and our products are our highest priorities. That is the reason why we have an end-to-end security assurance system and why we are continuously working to enhance that system. Like other enterprises, we continuously block, clean and reinforce our infrastructure from cyber threats.

Of course, none of this (that Chinese firms pose a security threat, or that the NSA hacked into Huawei) has been proven with any "hard" evidence. What has been proven, though, is that security threats are a very major concern for network operators and their customers, and that network security is becoming an increasingly important issue for communications service providers worldwide as fixed and mobile networks shift to all-IP networks. (See Digging Into Mobile Security, The Role of Identity Management and DNS Attacks on the Rise.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading


Want to learn more about this topic? Check out the agenda for Mobile Network Security Strategies, which will take place on May 21 at The Thistle Marble Arch hotel in London. For more on the event, including the stellar service provider speaker line-up, see the event's official site.


(23)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/25/2014 | 5:49:24 PM
Re: NSA Hacking
brookseven -  True, but this development is a marketing coup for Huawei.
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 3:18:23 PM
Remember
Remember we were also told that Huawei could not be trusted to do business in the US--so while this revelation is hardly a surprise--or  should not be a surprise, let's remember that companies on this side of the pond allowed our own spooks to spy on us.
mendyk
100%
0%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 1:20:11 PM
Re: NSA Hacking
"Sabre rattling" is exactly what's going on, and money as you say is almost always at the root of issues like this. In taking an exclusionary tack toward Huawei and ZTE, the U.S. runs the risk of isolating itself from most of the rest of the world regardng telecom technology.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 1:07:21 PM
Re: NSA Hacking
"I don't think there's any question that the militant stance toward Huawei and ZTE stems in part from some very unsavory and uncomfortable and outdated color concepts -- as in, red menace and yellow peril."

I think that's being used as the bogeyman, but I think by and large this really (as most things do) comes down to money. Cisco and others don't want them in the United States markets. There was a Washington Post report a while back that clearly pointed out most of the "concerns" about Huawei spying was originating with Cisco. That seems to long have been ignored:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/huaweis-us-competitors-among-those-pushing-for-scrutiny-of-chinese-tech-firm/2012/10/10/b84d8d16-1256-11e2-a16b-2c110031514a_story.html

That they might spy is kind of irrelevant. All of this gear, American or otherwise, is made in China. All spies agencies exploit all gear, no matter who it's made by. Bunch of protectionist, nonsensical saber rattling. 
R Clark
50%
50%
R Clark,
User Rank: Blogger
3/25/2014 | 11:35:01 AM
Re: NSA Hacking
The protectionism I'm describing is China tit-for-tat protectionism. China doesn't need much encouragement to find ways of obstructing or banning foreign businesses. Huawei is proscribed because it's a Chinese firm that could theoretically compromise networks. On those grounds China could outlaw a lot of firms.

The Mandiant report last January, and some reporting by Bloomberg in 2012 described the nature of China cyber-attacks, which are carried out by semi-independent and deniable hacking groups under the auspices of the PLA. The attacks are absolutely huge in scale but there's nothing to connect Huawei to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 8:59:42 AM
Re: NSA Hacking
The industrial protectionism argument doesn't hold up too well when you consider that non-US companies like Ericsson aren't proscribed from selling to US network operators. Or rather, US network operators aren't proscribed from buying their equipment.
Ray@LR
0%
100%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
3/25/2014 | 5:43:08 AM
Re: NSA Hacking
A few observations from the UK (so away form the 'red mist' of both N America and Far East Asia).

 

1 - Of course China is spying on everyone and everyone is spying on China. That's how it is. I don't think anyone is going to suggest that is not the case.

2 - TO what extent is Huawei involved? That's where there is a big question mark. Some accusations that Huawei is a Trojan Horse for Chinese spies/potential industrial or political attacks (or digital warfare) appear to be based purely on the fact that the president and founder, Ren Zhengfei, was formerly an officer in the Chinese army and might be a communist. He's a 70-years-old Chinese male, for goodness sakes... If there is some independent evidence that Huawei's technology is a back door/Trojan Horse, let's see it.

3 - The 'Chinese companies are security threats' accusation may look like good old-fashioned racism (and perhaps it is) and/or 'reds-under-the-bed' stuff --  but for me it looks more like good old-fashioned industrial protectionsim. Huawei is a threat to a number of US technology companies -- proclaiming that any US company that does business with Huawei or ZTE is being unpatriotic and exposing the US to potential security attacks looks like good business for the US.  

4 - That the NSA hacked into Huawei is no surprise. But isn't it a bit rich to say that one country has the moral high ground and is 'protecting freedom' etc by spying, while another is not? IN China, no doubt, people are led to believe that the hacking of US systems is defenisve, to protect China against the imperialist threat of the US. In every country, the others are the 'bad guys'. IT is no different here in the UK (though the majority of the media here tend to take the same view as the US, for cultural and political reasons.)

 

It's all relative. If the Chinese authorities were to accuse US vendors of providing a Trojan Horse security threat to China because a senior executive used to be high up in the US army and is active in the Republican Party, would that seem somewhat ridiculous? Of course.

It's all about perspective. And the (non) existence of tangible proof IN THE CASE OF HUAWEI. 

And, of course,w e should point out that, as we have noted before, Huawei has brought some of this on itself, too -- it's much easier to believe that a company poses a security threat when it has been caught in naive industrial espionage activities in the past.

Can Huawei Change?


http://www.lightreading.com/asia/can-huawei-change/a/d-id/700428

Huawei in Spying Flap


http://www.lightreading.com/ethernet-ip/huawei-in-spying-flap/d/d-id/603775

 

AND  - final point - none of this means that any one company's technology does NOT pose a security threat. It would be wrong to say that Huawei's technology, strategy, motives, aims, affiliations, etc are not worthy of examination. They are. What's needed is objective examination and a reliance on hard evidence, not political/racial/industrial mud-slinging. 

 
brookseven
100%
0%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 12:09:56 AM
Re: NSA Hacking
Mitch,

The NSA hacking and the Chinese hacking are orthogonal.  You can't assume one means the other is not true.  In fact, it should show you that it IS true.

What do spies do?  They spy!

 

seven
smkinoshita
50%
50%
smkinoshita,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/24/2014 | 11:54:31 PM
Re: NSA metadata
@RitchBlasi:  The problem isn't whether or not you have something to hide, but rather if they THINK you have something to hide.  History shows that people are prone to error but pride makes the persist down an incorrect path, and that is the actual problem.  

Worse:  What if their data has a false positive?  It doesn't matter if one is innocent; a party that has already predetermined guilt will dig and dig until they find their 'evidence' and will make leaps of logic to prove their point.  

The real root of the problem is how flawed people are.
R Clark
50%
50%
R Clark,
User Rank: Blogger
3/24/2014 | 11:03:13 PM
Beating a path to protectionism
Nothing wrong with NSA probing Huawei to find intelligence leaks. That's its job. But pretty astonishing that having found nothing most Washington security agencies and the Hill claim Huawei is a security threat. 


Just giving an excuse for China to proscribe US and other foreign companies. They don't need much encouragement.

My blog: http://www.electricspeech.com/journal/2014/3/25/huawei-ban-is-beating-a-path-to-protectionism.html

 
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Shades of Ray
A threshold has been reached as the telcos commit to SDN and NFV – and that will be good news for some vendors and not such good news for others.
Telefónica highlights the potential for data to play a transactional role in digital lives.
Open source is already rampant in comms networking developments, and now it's reaching into the emerging drones sector too, with Qualcomm and Intel on board.
The SDN community is gathered in Germany for a few days of loving and loathing – so what's hot?
Dor Skuler is bidding adieu to Alcatel-Lucent having helped to make CloudBand one of the key NFV-enabling platforms in the industry.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Using Service Quality to Drive WiFi Monetization

10|22|14   |   6:51   |   (0) comments


Live from the SCTE conference: Heavy Reading's Alan Breznick explores the forces shaping the WiFi opportunity in an interview with CableLabs' Justin Colwell and Amdocs' Ken Roulier.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 2

10|21|14   |   8:51:00 AM   |   (0) comments


ARRIS CTO Network Solutions Tom Cloonan discusses why many if not most MSOs will continue with integrated CCAP, while addressing why some are also looking at two futuristic, distributed access architectures: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 1

10|21|14   |   9:01   |   (0) comments


SCTE Sr. Director of Engineering Dean Stoneback discusses the pros and cons of distributed access architecture (DAA) and its various forms, which range from basic Remote PHY to full CMTS functionality in the node.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 2

10|21|14   |   3:58   |   (0) comments


ARRIS Senior Solution Architect Eli Baruch talks about how MSOs can enable public and community WiFi through 1) outdoor access points, 2) businesses seeking to offer WiFi to customers, and 3) residential WiFi gateway extensions.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 1

10|21|14   |   10:15   |   (0) comments


SCTE Director of Advanced Technologies Steve Harris discusses WiFi deployments, drivers, challenges and advances, including 802.11ac, carrier-grade WiFi, community WiFi, Hotspot 2.0, Passpoint, WiFi-First and voice-over-WiFi.
LRTV Custom TV
Advantech Accelerates 100G Traffic Handling

10|17|14   |   7:56   |   (0) comments


Paul Stevens from Advantech explains why handling 100GbE needs a whole new platform design approach and how Advantech is addressing the needs of equipment providers and carriers to give them the flexibility and performance they will need for SDN and NFV deployment.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Holland's Imtech Traffic & Infra Discusses Huawei's ICT Solution and Services

10|16|14   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Dimitry Theebe is from the business unit at Imtech Traffic & Infra which delivers communications solutions for transportations. His partnershp with Huawei began about a years ago. In this video, Theebe speaks more about this partnership and what he hopes to accomplish with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Comprehensive Storage Solutions Vital for SVR

10|16|14   |   6:16   |   (0) comments


SVR Information Technology provides cloud services for academic and special sectors. With Huawei's support, SVR and Yildiz Technical University has established Turkey's largest and most advanced High Performance Computing system. CSO Ismail Cem Aslan talks about what he hopes Huawei's OceanStor storage system will bring for him.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mexico's Servitron's Impression of Huawei at CCW 2014

10|16|14   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Servitron is a network operator in Mexico that has been in the trunking industry for the past 20 years. Its COO, Ing. Ragnar Trillo O., explains at Critical Communications World 2014 that his company has been interested in the long-term evolution of LTE technology and its adoption for TETRA.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Dubai

10|16|14   |   2:06   |   (0) comments


Abdulla Ahmed Al Falasi is the director of commercial affairs, a telecommunications coordinator for the government of Dubai. Their areas of service span across multiple industries, including police, safety, shopping malls and more. In this video, Abdulla talks about his department's work with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Lights Up Malaysia Partner Maju Nusa

10|16|14   |   1:59   |   (0) comments


Malaysia's Maju Nusa is an enterprise partner to Huawei in networking, route switches and telco equipment. At this year's Critical Communications World in Singapore, CTO Pushpender Singh talks about what Huawei's eLTE solutions mean to his company and for Malaysia.
LRTV Custom TV
Evolving From HFC to FTTH Networks

10|15|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Todd McCrum delves into the future of cable's HFC plant, examining how DOCSIS 3.1 and advanced video compression will extend its life and how the IP video transition will usher in GPON and EPON over FTTH.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Google: Carriers & Cloud Providers Need to Cooperate
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/16/2014
Analysts Warn of Major NFV Gaps
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/22/2014
iPad Air 2 Lets Users Switch Carriers Any Time
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/17/2014
CBS Takes OTT Plunge
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/16/2014
NYC Subway Wireless No Cure for Ebola Fears
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed