Chinese technology giant Huawei has a long and storied history of using secret access points built into exported equipment that could allow Chinese Intelligence teams to conduct cyber-operations through the effected equipment. As reported by renowned Chinese technology columnist Bill Gertz in the Washington Times, cybersecurity research firm Finite State recently released a report stating that 55% of Huawei equipment contained at least one backdoor access point.
Given that Chinese-owned companies are required by law to “support, provide assistance, and cooperate in national intelligence work,” these backdoors introduce potentially devastating access points in digital ecosystems using their products. Gertz noted in his writing that Huawei equipment dominates the international market in the 5G space. By dispersing compromised equipment to these sensitive networks Huawei, and more so the Chinese Communist Party, create a series of future access points that could be exploited to conduct cyber-espionage, data traffic monitoring and the compromising of personal information.
Given the long-standing position of the CCP in favor of population surveillance and the eroding of private information in the Chinese mainland, it comes as little surprise that the CCP would seek to create a web of potential information gathering tools across the world. By adapting Huawei’s government-subsidized equipment governments are choosing cost savings over information security.
With more than half of all equipment released by the company potentially compromised, this issue is obviously part of Chinese technology’s culture – likely permeating businesses outside of Huawei. It is time Western countries begin to scrutinize other Chinese products, namely consumer goods such as personal computers and televisions.