In an interview with The Australian Financial Review ex-CIA and NSA boss General Michael Hayden said he believes networking equipment vendor Huawei builds back-doors into its gear in order to facilitate espionage. The firm says the accusation is untrue.
In response to the question, “I just want to confirm this is correct. You believe that it is reasonable to assume that hard evidence exists that Huawei has engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese state?” The Australian Financial Review quoted Hayden as saying, “Yes, that’s right. And, at a minimum, Huawei would have shared with the Chinese state intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications systems it is involved with. I think that goes without saying. That’s one reality.”
The Telegraph’s Sophie Curtis noted, “The news comes in the wake of the UK government’s announcement that it will conduct a review of Huawei’s Cyber Security Evaluation Centre in Oxfordshire, in accordance with the recommendations of a report by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) into foreign involvement in the UK’s critical national infrastructure.”
BBC News added, “The concerns over its association with the Chinese authorities have been driven in part, by the fact that the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, was a former member of the People’s Liberation Army. However, Huawei has repeatedly denied those claims and has stressed that it is 98.6%-owned by its employees.”
The Register quoted Huawei’s response, which said, “Huawei is a world-leading, proven and trusted ICT company. These tired, unsubstantiated defamatory remarks are sad distractions from real-world concerns related to espionage – industrial and otherwise – that demand serious discussion globally.”