Light Reading

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        ADD A COMMENT
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
This is the big question facing all operators – SDN and NFV look like they could be very beneficial in many ways but can a massive transformation be justified?
If anyone now asks me why consumers would ever need a Gigabit broadband connection, I have a few suggestions thanks to the team at Orange GigaStudio.
The shortlists (some of them not so short) are out for this year's Leading Lights awards program and it's an incredible mix of runners and riders…
The global launch of Huawei's P8 smartphone was stage-managed within an inch of its life – but it didn't need to be.
There's a lot to take in regarding the planned combination of Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent – here's a quick guide to our coverage.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is not the easiest of topics to take on board, so here's a Light Reading infographic, developed following conversations with the folks at HP, that helps make sense of where NFV is taking the industry.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/19/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
Comcast Targets 6 New Gigabit Markets
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/21/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones