US Feds Say Huawei Is Using Telecom Backdoors it Made Mandatory

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According to a recent WSJ report, the U.S. government has claimed it has proof (it hasn’t made it public yet) that Huawei has backdoor access to U.S. telecommunications companies’ networks. The twist is that this backdoor was actually created for the U.S. law enforcement to spy on various U.S. suspects. This doesn't help the U.S. government’s recent arguments that encryption backdoors can be made secure and with only trustworthy people accessing them.

The U.S. government claimed for years that Huawei has access to backdoors in U.S. telecom equipment but has never shown any proof, leading some to question if concern was just being used as leverage in U.S.-China trade disputes. However, according to U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, there is hard proof. 

"We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world," he told WSJ. 

Huawei Denies Allegations

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, Huawei has denied the allegations that it has used the backdoors the U.S. government asked it to create for its own purposes or for espionage on behalf of the Chinese government. 

"No Huawei employee is allowed to access the network without an explicit approval from the network operator," the company said in a statement sent to WSJ.

Historically, Huawei has denied such allegations, even at times where there was at least some public proof that it delayed fixing security issues with its hardware. 

A Threat by the Feds' Own Design

Where's the Evidence Already?

The U.S. government has only shared whatever evidence it claims to have with UK and Germany last year, WSJ reported , but for some reason, those two countries are also among those looking to buy Huawei’s networking equipment

Meanwhile, we look forward to the U.S. government making whatever evidence it says it has public. If the WSJ report proves true, new evidence could kill any future attempt to implement backdoors in U.S. communications systems. The feds may be forced to decide if it cares more about national security or having a backdoor through which it can access citizens' communications. 

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • jonathan1683
    Funny because feds keep harassing Apple to do the same thing, but apple is saying this is the reason why there should be no backdoors. It's only OK when we do it right? Because terrorism.
  • TheOtherOne
    Pot: "Hi Kettle, how are you?"
    Kettle:"Oh hi, I am good thanks, by the way who is this?"
    Pot: "This is Pot."
    Kettle: "Hello Pot, how can I help you?"
    Pot: "I actually had to say something to you."
    Kettle: "Yeah .... Go ahead!"
    Pot: "You are black!"
    Kettle: "........"
  • bit_user
    Well, if Huawei added backdoors at the US Government's request, then at least they weren't lying when they accused Huawei's equipment of having backdoors.