Earlier this month, the House Intelligence Committee accused Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE of spying on America. They feared that these two companies were investing in American telecoms only to gain access to critical American infrastructures. Turns out those fears may be unfounded.
Speaking to sources familiar with the matter, Reuters has found that a White House probe into Huawei turned up nothing. The company is being just that – a company. There’s no clear evidence that they are working with the Chinese government to undermine American infrastructure.
With that being said, the probe did find something very interesting. Most of Huawei’s products can be easily exploited by hackers. In particular, Huawei-made routers have bad code that investigators say is the result of poor coding, not intentional sabotage. The fear now is that Huawei’s products could be used by any private or state-sponsored hackers to gain access to privately stored information.
Other sources speaking to Reuters say the bad code was deliberate. A computer scientist told them that Huawei’s routers contain “back doors” that he feels were deliberately inserted “with care.” If the company was spying, it would allow them to siphon data from citizens and government entities using the routers.
In their defense, Huawei’s US spokesperson Bill Plummer said that the company’s products do not contain any backdoors. He also points out that all hardware is susceptible to hackers, and that Huawei would fix any vulnerabilities found in their products.
For now, the probe hasn’t found any damning evidence. That means Huawei is in the clear for now, but the House Intelligence Committee will most likely not back down. Co-author of the House Intelligence Committee report, Dutch Ruppersberger, told Reuters that “China has the means, opportunity, and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes.”
It’s almost looking like America is ready to enter a new Cold War with China. A big problem with that is that China has far more resources at their disposal than the Soviet Union ever did. The advanced technology at both countries’ disposal could make things far more complicated as well. It’s been said before that the next World War would be fought over the Internet, and events like this make that future seem all the more possible.