Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei has issued a statement condemning “all activities that threaten the security of networks”, following reports the US National Security Agency had spied on it.
Over the weekend, both The New York Times and Der Spiegel, reported documents leaked by rogue intelligence contractor Edward Snowden apparently show the intelligence agency had spied on the Chinese tech company.
According to the reports, a covert operation codenamed ‘Shotgiant’ was set up to investigate alleged links between the company and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, as well as to compromise equipment made by the company as part of other operations.
The reports claim that the agency obtained information about Huawei’s routers and digital switches under the program, while monitoring communications among senior executives at the company.
In a statement, Huawei told SmartCompany it condemns any attempts to infiltrate its internal networks.
“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.”
As SmartCompany has previously reported, the US military has long held concerns about possible links between Huawei and Chinese defence forces.
In July 2012, a former senior security policy analyst in the US Office of the Secretary of Defence, Michael Maloof, claimed the Chinese government was using Huawei and ZTE equipment to gain “backdoor access” to telecommunications networks.
“In 2000, Huawei was virtually unknown outside China, but by 2009 it had grown to be one of the largest, second only to Ericsson.
“As a consequence, sources say that any information traversing ‘any’ Huawei equipped network isn’t safe unless it has military encryption. One source warned, ‘even then, there is no doubt that the Chinese are working very hard to decipher anything encrypted that they intercept’.
“The Chinese government and the People’s Liberation Army are into cyberwarfare now. They have looked at not just Huawei [and] ZTE Corporation as providing, through the equipment that they install in about 145 countries around the world, and in 45 of the top 50 telecom centres around the world, the potential for backdooring into data.”
The company came to national attention in Australia after it was locked out of the bidding for the National Broadband Network by the Gillard government, over national security concerns.