Huawei is outraged: it seems that the NSA was spying on it, while the US government accused it of spying for the Chinese
Huawei has expressed dismay at reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) of spying on its customers and staff. The reports, leaked by ex-NSA analyst Edward Snowden, come at a time when the Chinese telecoms giant is virtually locked out of the American public sector market because the US government fears it is spying for the Chinese government.
The NSA used a campaign called Shotgiant to spy on Huawei, while also snooping on Chinese politicians and other businesses, with Huawei one of the main targets, reports in the New York Times and Der Spiegel indicate.
Huawei to complain?
The NSA stole a list of 1,400 customers, amongst other internal documents, according to the Edward Snowden leaks. The agency also accessed an email archive and source code from Huawei products.
“Many of our targets communicate over Huawei products, we want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products,” one NSA document read.
Another said the agency was sitting on so much data from Huawei it didn’t know what to do with it, although it warned the popularity of the firm’s products meant China would have plenty of good intelligence opportunities too.
It appeared one of the chief aims of the operation was to learn what connections Huawei had with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Alleged ties to the army, and claims Huawei included backdoors in its products, had all but locked it out of the US market, even though the company has repeatedly protested its innocence. No hard proof has been forthcoming to support those claims either.
“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,” said a Huawei spokesperson, in a statement over email. “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 US government has already had to fend off criticism from US tech companies, such as Facebook and Google, which have expressed apparent outrage at the actions of the NSA.
On Friday, President Obama met with a host of tech bigwigs, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, to outline his plans for reform, delineated in January.