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Huawei

Discussion in 'Cybersecurity' started by rossfrb_1, Oct 10, 2012.

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  1. rossfrb_1

    rossfrb_1 Member

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    Hi all.
    I'm trying to understand exactly what the issues are here.

    Is there an accusation that Huawei's hardware/software - as installed in other countries companies and institutions, may be allowing Chinese authorities to monitor activity/access information?

    Or is it that Huawei's staff are somehow doing shady things - maybe revealing business in confidence information to the Chinese government?

    From this link it suggests that it may be to do with the company's relationship with the Chinese government.
    Opposing Views on Congress' Claims Huawei Technologies Enables Chinese Spying | PBS NewsHour | Oct. 9, 2012 | PBS

    cheers
    rb
     
  2. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    I believe its a combination. There are back doors in products and the relationship to the government. Some of this may be occurring without the companies knowledge etc.

    Australia forbade use of their equipment in the NBN. I believe they are off the list for defence stuff too. I would assume someone has found a big hole in the stuff or fingerprints that point to something..

    Chinese firm's NBN ban not political: ASIO

    Its interesting that in Alexander Downer is a Director of Huawei Australia, former foreign minister.

    Small world. Perhaps too small.
     
  3. plasmafish

    plasmafish New Member

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    If so then they are British ones because Huawei...
    "... operates in close co-operation with GCHQ, Britain’s signals-intelligence agency, located conveniently just over the Cotswolds in Cheltenham. Its security-cleared staff, some of whom used to work for GCHQ, are responsible for making sure that the networking equipment and software that the Chinese firm wishes to sell to British telecoms companies are reliable, will only do what customers want them to do and cannot be exploited by cybercriminals or foreign spies—including Chinese ones."

    Huawei: The company that spooked the world | The Economist
     
  4. phreeky

    phreeky Member

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    Any such equipment will contain extraordinarily quantities of code including low-level stuff.

    I would be extremely surprised if a programmer could not sneak in a backdoor and have it pass all tests and even code scrutiny. In fact it doesn't even have to be software based, there could certainly also be hardware-based backdoors (or in fact a combination of both).

    That's not to say that it's a Huawai specific issue, the same could be said about any network device manufacturer. An awful lot of it will come down to trust based on the manufacturers history, reputation and employees (i.e. obviously the US will place a lot of trust in a US company stacked full of US employees, such as Cisco).
     
  5. Atasas

    Atasas Banned Member

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    ........
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  6. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    just sent to me from another distrib group I'm on...

    Subject: CG: The Secret Ways of Little Known Chinese Telecoms Giant Huawei

    The Secret Ways of Little Known Chinese Telecoms Giant Huawei - SPIEGEL ONLINE

    The Secret Ways of Little Known Chinese Telecoms Giant Huawei

    01/02/2013

    Unknown But Unavoidable The Secret Ways of Chinese Telecom Giant Huawei

    By Hilmar Schmundt

    REUTERS

    Almost a third of the planet is thought to be using its products and yet few know much about the highly secretive Chinese telecommunication equipment company Huawei. Should customers be concerned about the company founder's military background or the security vulnerabilities of its products?

    The first problem is just saying the company's name. Huawei is pronounced wah-way. It means something like "China acts!"

    The second problem is its patriotic swagger. The telecommunications networking equipment and mobile phone supplier, based in the southeastern Chinese city of Shenzhen, is accused of secretly spreading high-tech spying devices around the world, having close ties with the Chinese military and supplying products to pariah states like Iran. A recent report by the Intelligence Committee of the United States House of Representatives warned against using the company's products for critical telecommunications infrastructure. The Australian government has also blocked the company from bidding for contracts related to the construction of its national broadband network.

    It would appear that Huawei cannot be stopped, though. At the international consumer electronics show opening in Las Vegas on January 8, the company will present the first mobile phone that uses the Windows Phone 8 operating system as well as a massive, souped-up mobile phone with a six-inch-plus display screen that puts it in the category of phone-tablet hybrids known as "phablets."

    In July, the company already introduced its "Ascend P1," a respectable Android-based smartphone that is thinner than many rival products and boasts better battery life than the iPhone 5.

    The Chinese company has its sites set on being able to make better smartphones than both Samsung and Apple soon. Though this might sound overly ambitious, Huawei means business. Some estimates hold that roughly a third of the world's population already uses the company's technologies in some way, often without being aware of it. Many Internet connections run through servers made by Huawei, and many mobile-phone calls are transmitted through the company's base stations. In Germany, the first "surf sticks" using the ultra-fast LTE standard that were marketed by Deutsche Telekom, the country's telecommunications giant, were built by Huawei.

    A Charm Offensive

    The company has launched a charm offensive that is currently trying to dispel concerns about its goals. "It's a misconception that we are a Chinese company," says company spokesman Roland Sladek. "We've been international for some time now." The 39-year-old, who was born in the southwestern German city of Freiburg and has lectured on "intercultural communication" at Sciences Po, an elite university in Paris, is the company's European face.

    Sladek said this at Huawei headquarters, a glass-encased palace in an industrial zone of Shenzhen, just a few kilometers from the Foxconn factories in which many Samsung and Apple products are assembled. The facilities are so huge that the thousands of young people who stream out of them and block intersections each day during shift changes seem like they are part of some major demonstration.

    But in contrast to Foxconn, the campus-like grounds of Huawei's headquarters are devoted to developing rather than assembling products. The conference rooms are elegantly furnished, the espresso bars are first-rate, and the subtropical indoor plants are draped with glittering Christmas decorations. It might be winter outside, but there's a steamy warmth in the restaurants and among the palm trees inside. The gigantic campus is home to some 40,000 engineers, whose average age is 29, and most live in dormitory-like housing.

    Huawei has some 150,000 employees in more than 140 countries, including over 1,600 in Germany. Despite its global presence, however, the company is decidedly Chinese. It was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former technology officer in the People's Liberation Army.

    Shenzhen, near the former British colony of Hong Kong, used to be a backwater community with some 30,000 inhabitants. But in 1980, it was designated China's first "special economic zone," a laboratory for the country's experimentation with free-market policies. Today, the futuristic planned city is home to roughly 10 million people.

    Rat-Proof Cables

    When Ren launched the company, he had to import telephone switchboards from Hong Kong. Before long, though, the company was developing its own IT components. The rural parvenu then proceeded to conquer the domestic market in accordance with the Maoist doctrine: "Encircle the cities from the countryside."

    Company spokesman Sladek cites the company's rat-proof cables as an example of how Huawei is particularly good at responding to customer needs. He explains how gnawing rats often destroyed telephone lines in rural areas. "Other companies shrugged their shoulders," he says. "But our engineers reinforced the cables to be more resistant to rat bites."

    Huawei expanded abroad after the turn of the millennium. Since then, it has grown to become the world's second-largest supplier of telecommunications networking equipment, with annual sales of some €25 billion ($33 billion). Soon, it might even surpass the market leader, Sweden's Ericsson. What's more, rather than making low-cost knockoffs, Huawei channels over 11 percent of revenues back into research and development, and already holds more than 20,000 patents.

    Company founder Ren has never given an interview, and other Chinese peculiarities only add to the company's reputation for opaqueness. For example, Huawei has its own in-house committee of the Communist Party of China. Sladek says people read too much into this, though, noting that every company with more than 50 employees in China has to have one, including the China-based subsidiaries of the German automakers Volkswagen and BMW. "The committees don't do anything more than hand out gift baskets of fruit to employees for Chinese New Year," he says. But China experts are skeptical of this interpretation.

    An Unknown Brand

    On the outside, Huawei seems harmless. With its palm-lined streets and neoclassical columns, the company's campus -- dubbed the "White House" -- would hardly look out of place in Silicon Valley. Here, prototypes are subjected to grueling tests in a climate laboratory as part of quality-control efforts.

    In formal terms, the company is employee-owned. Its founder owns a 1.4 percent stake -- and seems dynastically inclined. His daughter is the company's CFO, and his brother sits on the advisory board.

    A permanent exhibition housed on a basement floor of the headquarters shows the many ways in which the company's products have become part of our everyday digital lives. Huawei offers solar-powered mobile telephony stations, software for hospitals, interactive televisions, surveillance cameras and systems for telephone conferencing, traffic guidance and building automation. What's more, its products are usually about 30 percent cheaper than those of its competitors.

    Huawei sells roughly 100 million mobile phones each year, though often under the names of individual mobile network operators. A fierce price war between no-name providers has prompted Huawei to follow the lead of other companies, such as Taiwan's HTC, in launching its own mobile phone brand.

    "The good news is that we build good technologies," says Shao Yang, Huawei's chief marketing officer. "And now the bad news: Hardly anyone is familiar with our brands." Changing this is his job, he adds.

    Security Issues

    Two years ago, the company took a bold and radical step aimed at eliminating suspicions about its possible involvement in espionage. It set up the Cyber Security Evaluation Centre, a kind of quarantine station, in the small British city of Banbury, not far from Oxford. There, 20 employees look for security vulnerabilities in Huawei devices alongside counterparts from the Government Communications Headquarters (GSHQ), the British intelligence agency responsible for electronic intelligence gathering and cyber security. The company reportedly even gives the GSHQ access to its product source code, the holiest asset of any high-tech company.

    The center is meant to banish all worries about the secretive company and its founder's military past, but not everyone is convinced. "That is probably supposed to sound reassuring," says Felix Linder, who dresses in black and goes by the name "FX" in industry circles. "But what good does it do German companies if the British intelligence service knows about Huawei's security vulnerabilities?" Linder is the head of Recurity Labs, a 10-person IT security firm based in Berlin's Kreuzberg district. "Intelligence agencies love security gaps," he adds, "just in case they need access at some point themselves."

    Lindner caused a global stir in July when he pointed out backdoors in Huawei Systems at the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas. At the time, attackers could easily crack the security coding of Huawei routers by entering standard, preset passwords, such as "supperman" with two p's.

    "I used to frequently criticize companies like Sun Microsystems," Lindner says dryly. "But comparatively speaking, Sun has seemed positively exemplary to me ever since I've gotten acquainted with Huawei. Its security reminds one of the level seen in the 1990s." In response, Huawei says that it cannot go into detail about security-related issues, but adds that it puts the highest value on quality.

    Still, Lindner doesn't believe that the unsecured backdoors in Huawei routers were programmed with evil intentions. Instead, he suggests that they are the result of sloppy work by young, underpaid engineers.

    Translated from the German by Josh Ward
     
  7. A.Mookerjee

    A.Mookerjee Banned Member

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    What is the difference between similar hardware/software? I mean, G E, might use the same hardware/software as another American company, and not Huawei manufactured/designed. It doesn't seem to be any problem, then. If this was and is a problem, Chinese internet and hardware and software might have been banned from entry to the U. S. The U. S. might have made this clear to the Chinese, and the cited reason would be national security.
     
  8. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    There is a difference.

    The NBN is a very important network. With electricity grid, defence, business, government etc all hanging off it. So its not just like a regular "internet", its an internal network that everyone is going to use.
     
  9. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    which is what cranks me up with the opposition, they want to let Huawei in as they conveniently have an ex Defence Minister representing Huaweis interest in australia.

    Lets just forget all the serious intel that has come from a variety of friendly intel sources, including our own agencies /sarcasm off

    frakking ferengi mentality.
     
  10. MiliBand

    MiliBand New Member

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    i think the name of the company implies that there are some definite implications
     
  11. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    It seems to put the entire thing at risk and it smells. Honestly I don't know why the libs just didn't say, they could deliver the same thing built the same way, but cheaper. With Downer in his position, letting them in just smells ratty.

    I don't really like the thought of China being able to switch off our electricity grid at will and listen in on all traffic internal to Australia to save a few bucks on the short term loan that is the NBN.
     
  12. plasmafish

    plasmafish New Member

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    So while Huawei has been bending over backwards trying to deflect baseless US insinuations of espionage, CISCO has been tacitly supporting American efforts to spy on China.

    This affair has made Huawei and the Chinese government look like chumps. China pays CISCO to spy on them, while the Americans are laughing all the way to the bank and even win the "moral" highground among their friends thanks to constant allegations of Chinese espionage. Genius.

    Cisco's business in China set to suffer from Prism revelations
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  13. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Baseless?

    Before changing into my existing job my area was subject to breach attempts at least 50 times per day - and we had the capacity to identify where they were coming from despite all the internet armchair experts who think that anon attacks are anon.

    90% of the time they camne out of mainland china or ex warpac areas - even from 1999-to current

    you seem to be oblivious that CISCO also got pulled from a lot of sensitive areas in Tier1,Tier2 and Tier 3 militaries as they discovered that some of the internals were no longer as specced so had to be scrapped for security reasons. In fact CISCO gear got pulled from lots of sensitive sites from certain periods - those periods coincided with the dates that CISCO started getting some of their boxes made in china

    there is a difference between what happens in the real world and the hysterical commentary that tries to defend Hauwei (or china) as innocent bystanders - that is unmitigated rubbish
     
  14. plasmafish

    plasmafish New Member

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    Yeah baseless. There has never been any evidence at all that Huawei has any involvement in Chinese espionage efforts. This is from a US Congressional Report. Smears, allegations, insinuations aplenty. No proof. Meanwhile CISCO does exactly what Huawei is being accused of.
     
  15. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Huaweis ownership says much

    I have my own personal experiences which you conveniently ignore - CISCO devices were hacked by the chinese and from certain timeframes all CISCO gear made in china was pulled from use in sensitive areas

    stop trolling

    first and last warning
     
  16. plasmafish

    plasmafish New Member

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    Are you insinuating that because Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei was ex-military, therefore Huawei cannot be trusted? Because lots of US companies have ex-military people on their board.

    Yes but how is this Huawei's fault?

    About the US Congressional Report, here is a BBC article on it:BBC News - Huawei and ZTE pose security threat, warns US panel. It has plenty to say but notice what it doesn't say. It does not say that there is any proof that Huawei is involved in hacking US networks.

    I'm not trolling, I'm just frustrated by the constant accusations of espionage while the finger pointers are doing exactly the same thing. If any of my comments have come across as trolling then I apologize, but I hope you will re-read my posts and reconsider. I cannot meaningfully discuss anything if you simply shut me down, call me a troll and threaten me.

    edit
    It's probably best if I quit this thread and leave you to it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013
  17. the road runner

    the road runner Member

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    You might not have realised but GF is a defence professional ,i am sure he knows what he is talking about ,he may not be able to comment on certain details ,but when he talks you really should listen

    Cheers
     
  18. Bonza

    Bonza Super Moderator Staff Member

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    So you are frustrated, that explains your posts. I understand you might be frustrated but what you said in your post has very little to do with whether or not Huawei is involved in spying, either. What, you think that if a party making accusations is doing the same thing, that automatically makes those accusations baseless? Of course it doesn't, and the fact that you'd call allegations of cyber-espionage on the part of China "baseless" at this point is rather baffling. Do note that I'm not ruling other countries out by saying that, and inferring any such reasoning would be a massive assumption on anyone's part.

    It sounds like this is something that's been bothering you for a while. My suggestion, for what it's worth, would be less emotion and more logic when posting.
     
  19. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Huawei started off with military owners - not ex military owners - and the simple reality is that any ICT entity in china is heavily controlled by the Govt, irrespective of what its shareholder presence is presented as. Most foreign intelligence services regard Huawei as a GBE - not a private company

    comparing CISCO to HUawei to cement your proposition ignores some of the reasons as to why western intel agencies have placed Huawei as a national security risk

    CISCO flogs boxes.
    Huawei flogs boxes and seeks to develop and build the bearers.
    People are not naive to think that the americans, french, germans or martians are blessed angels and won't be engaged in their own cyber progs, the issue is about being caught and about minimising the risk to national security.

    If china wants to ban CISCO it's their choice then they can pick any number of other companies to provide their gear - and quite a few western countries (incl the russians) regard CISCO as already compromised when CISCO started getting some gear built in China. Quite a few countries started pulling chinese made CISCO gear for that very reason - ie they found compromised components. Some of those components were also common to Huawei product.


    I can think of any number of Govt ministers who state that Huawei are pure as the driven snow - including ex western Defence Ministers who are now working for Huawei as consultants - despite the fact that their own Intel services have stated that Huawei is a risk. A congressional report is not something to put your hand over your heart. Again, Int services have known for years that companies like Huawei will try and get ex western Govt political and military leaders on their Boards to try and inject credibility and to add weight to their policy of "changing" the dynamics

    Guess who I trust between politicians motivated by commercial greed and Intelligence services where the only motivation is to protect the country and usually their operators are on 1/20th the salary?

    your opening statements sought to apply hypocrisy and ignored the deeper technical and political issues at play
     
  20. ADMk2

    ADMk2 Just a bloke Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    THIS slideshow illustrates the reasons why companies like Huawei aren't trusted.

    "h*tp://www.slideshare.net/endrazine/defcon-hardware-backdooring-is-practical"][Defcon] Hardware backdooring is practical

    Just add the extra t in the http link. DT doesn't seem to like Slideshare...