China "extremely concerned" over reports NSA spied on Huawei

By Danny Palmer
24 Mar 2014 View Comments
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China has demanded an explanation from the US following reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on Chinese telecoms provider Huawei.

According to The New York Times, the NSA successfully infiltrated the networks of Huawei's headquarters, accessing sensitive information and monitoring the communications made by some of the company's top executives.

The alleged snooping on Huawei is the latest revelation to come from documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former US government IT contractor who revealed the extent that the US and other governments are spying on web firms and citizens.

According to the released documents, the operation - codenamed Shotgiant - was designed to find connections between Huawei and the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

The programme was also used to snoop on Huawei technology and monitor what technology Huawei was selling to which countries. It's also reported that if deemed necessary, the infiltration would enable the US President to order a cyber attack against Huawei networks.

"Many of our targets communicate over Huawei-produced products. We want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products," read one document.

"If we can determine the company's plans and intentions," the document from 2010 continued, "we hope that this will lead us back to the plans and intentions" of the Chinese government. 

Naturally, the Chinese government hasn't reacted well to the news that US authorities have reportedly been spying on Huawei networks and says it is "extremely concerned" about the revelations. 

"Recently, the international media has put out a lot of reports about the evesdropping, surveillance and stealing of secrets by the United States against other countries, including China," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

"China has already lodged many complaints with the United States about this. We demand that the United States makes a clear explanation and stop such acts."

This, however, doesn't represent the first time that the US and China have clashed over the issue of cyber espionage, with regular claims from both sides that the other is snooping on networks.

The US, however, isn't the only western nation to have concerns about Huawei, with GCHQ also increasing scrutiny of the Chinese company over fears it is spying on the UK by compromising networks. 

Huawei equipment has been placed at the heart of the UK's telecoms infrastructure after the company under-bid Marconi to win a key part of BT's 21st Century Network upgrade initiative. 

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