FBI Accuses Huawei And ZTE, Says They Pose a Risk to US Security

Image Source: sfnews

Image Source: sfnews

One of the things that are constant with countries of every era is that they could never fully trust one another. Each country has their own set of values, each one has their own motives and endeavors, wishes they want to achieve, and their own people to look after. So it isn’t surprising when, even with regards to technology, countries could never trust the devices that came from another country.

This is at least the position held by the US when FBI Director Chris Wray warned the public that China-made phones pose a risk to their national security.

US vs China

China and the US have always had this open rivalry: China is a socialist country, one that has allied with other socialist countries like Russia and North Korea. They have a different set of values and have been usually bullying their neighboring countries with regards to their territories. The US, being the ally of those countries and the great bastion of capitalism, is obliged to help those countries by putting pressure on China and its allies.

This is the basic politics between China and its allies and the US and their allies. So when the Chinese mobile giant Huawei’s carrier deals with two of the USA’s giant service providers, AT&T and Verizon, failed recently, it is no surprise that people speculated that the US government might have had anything to do with the deals failing. And this month all the speculations were proven right when Chris Wray, FBI Director, has spoken with the US Senate Intelligence Committee that they are concerned with the dangers of using Chinese mobile phones in the USA.

In his own words, he said: “We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing a company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks.”

Deep-seated Suspicion

Image Source: Huawei

Image Source: Huawei

This isn’t a very unfounded fear: China and the USA have always been trying to penetrate each other’s cybersecurity for years. A quick search on the Internet would provide myriads of articles citing the two’s silent war, waged as far back as 2002, and possibly more.

There was even an incident in 2016 where an estimated 700 million smartphones were affected by a secret software created by Shanghai Adups Technology. The software is said to record and pass all the collected information to servers in China. Information includes user calls, text messages, and even GP location. Most of the affected phones were suspected to have been from ZTE and Huawei that were using SAT firmware for their phones. ZTE eventually denied that they have used any of SAT’s software for any of their devices in the USA. BLU, an American company, however, admitted that 120,000 of their own products were carrying the software. They have released an update to fix it since then.

Security Risk

Image Source: techwinter

The ZTE Axom M (Image Source: techwinter)

Huawei denied any of the allegations made by the FBI. The CIA and NSA were, however, convinced and is in support of FBI’s views on the matter. They don’t have any proof that Huawei or ZTE or any Chinese manufacturers are actively working with the Chinese government in secret to spy on the US.

Both Huawei and ZTE have made statements claiming that none of the allegations were true and they are committed to earning their customer’s trust. But that isn’t enough for the USA. The New York Times reported that the USA is actively blocking Huawei and ZTE from gaining a foothold in the US market.

Some people may find this insulting and unfair, but this is a position everyone must concede with the US officials and for a good reason. China is known to have made active attacks against the US and is known to have made software to spy on its own people. The USA, however, is guilty of the same sins, as revealed to us by the Vault 7 incident, and shouldn’t act like they’re the good guys. They are, instead, obligated to do their job, which is protecting the interest of their country and it’s citizens, even if it means unfair treatment for those who aren’t part of their country.