Chinese company Huawei can secretly obtain data from mobile networks that use its equipments, U.S. officials say.
A Wall Street Journal report claims Huawei builds secret back doors into its mobile network hardware that allows the company to access network data globally through so-called “back doors” used by law enforcement agencies.
Starting as early as 2009, Huawei has maintained back door access into some of the networks it builds through 4G equipment, according to U.S. security officials.
“We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world,” National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told the Wall Street Journal.
“This is alarming because Chinese companies, by law, must comply with directives of the Chinese Communist Party. Strategically, we see a company that can use its position in the market to advance the aims of the Chinese Communist Party.”
It is unclear if the company actually used this access, but telecoms buying the Huawei’s equipment are unaware of the company’s level of access, U.S. officials told the Journal.
Huawei has denied the allegations made against them and said in a statement:
Huawei has never and will never do anything that would compromise or endanger the security of networks and data of its clients. We emphatically reject these latest allegations. Again, groundless accusations are being repeated without providing any kind of concrete evidence.
The use of the lawful interception interface is strictly regulated and can only be accessed by certified personnel of the network operators. No Huawei employee is allowed to access the network without an explicit approval from the network operator.
The information was kept highly classified by the U.S. officials until late last year, when they provided details to allies including UK, Germany, and other allied countries.
The U.S. has pursued an aggressive campaign to convince allies to exclude Huawei equipment in the run-up to 5G citing the company as a national security risk due to its close ties with the Chinese government.