Backdoors found in Huawei networking equipment

Backdoors found in Huawei networking equipment
In 2012, a U.S. Congressional committee called Huawei and ZTE national security threats, and things have gone downhill ever since. The U.S. has warned its allies not to allow Huawei networking equipment to be used to build out 5G networks. So far countries like the U.S., Australia, Japan, and New Zealand have banned carriers from sourcing Huawei gear. Why? Because the laws in China allow the ruling communist government to demand that tech firms gather intelligence on its behalf. Despite denials from Huawei executives and its founder, the U.S. believes that the company's phones and equipment carry a backdoor that sends or will send private consumer and corporate data to Beijing.

Huawei supporters always ask to see the evidence to support the theory that the company has designed backdoors into its phones and networking equipment. And sure enough, Bloomberg reports that European telecom giant Vodafone had found such backdoors in Huawei equipment going back a few years. Bloomberg took a look at Vodafone documents from 2009 and 2011 and learned that Vodafone requested that backdoors be removed from Huawei home internet routers and parts of its network that transmit internet data over optical fiber. The internal documents prepared by Vodafone and read by Bloomberg said that the backdoors discovered could have allowed a third party to have access to a Vodafone customer's PC and home internet network. The equipment with the vulnerabilities was earmarked for Vodafone's Italian operations.

UPDATE: Vodafone is denying Bloomberg's report, and has released the following statement: "Bloomberg is incorrect in saying that this 'could have given Huawei unauthorised access to the carrier's fixed-line network in Italy. In addition, we have no evidence of any unauthorised access. This was nothing more than a failure to remove a diagnostic function after development. The issues were identified by independent security testing, initiated by Vodafone as part of our routine security measures, and fixed at the time by Huawei." The telecom firm goes on to add that what Blommberg thought was a backdoor was a diagnostic tool called Telnet, used by many suppliers of networking equipment.

The documents also reveal that back in 2011, Vodafone asked Huawei to remove these backdoors found inside its equipment. Even though Huawei said that it resolved the issue, Vodafone found that the backdoors remained. It should be noted that there are legitimate reasons for a company to include a backdoor with its networking equipment and software. A company might include one to help its developers manage the software used with the gear. But it also leaves a vulnerability that can be used by those with malicious intent.

Huawei is the second largest phone manufacturer and top global supplier of networking equipment


While the documents deal with events that took place as long as ten years ago, they do give some legitimacy to U.S. concerns about Huawei's equipment. And these concerns have prevented major U.S. carriers from offering Huawei handsets to their customers. While both AT&T and Verizon were planning on stocking the Huawei Mate 10 Pro in early 2018, the government reportedly blocked this from happening. While no major carriers in the states carried subsequent hits like the Huawei P20 Pro (first phone with a triple camera setup) and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, B&H Photo is offering the Latin America variant of the P30 Pro with a U.S. warranty.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Justice Department criminally charged Huawei in a scheme to cover up goods and services that the company allegedly sold to Iran. The country is under international economic sanctions, and the U.S. claims that several units of the Chinese manufacturer were involved in bank fraud to hide these transactions. Also charged was Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the firm's founder Ren Zhengfei. In addition, Huawei was charged with stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile in a case involving the theft of parts taken from a phone testing robot called "Tappy." T-Mobile had earlier won $4.2 million from Huawei from a civil lawsuit it filed over the incident.

Despite the lack of a major U.S. partnership, Huawei sold over 200 million phones last year. During the first quarter of this year, IDC says that Huawei shipped 59.1 million phones. That put it second to Samsung's 71.9 million but topped the 36.4 million iPhones that the research firm estimates that Apple delivered from January through March. The company has said that it hopes to be the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world by next year. It already is the world's largest provider of networking equipment.

The stakes are much higher now with 5G networks being built out. The next generation of wireless connectivity offers dataspeeds 10 times faster than 4G LTE. New businesses and services are expected to pop up thanks to the blazing fast 5G download speeds, and these networks need to be secure.

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35 Comments

1. Bobbii

Posts: 43; Member since: Jan 18, 2017

Vodafone already officially denied it. Remember Bloomberg's "The Big Hack" report? Textbook fake news.

2. tangbunna

Posts: 463; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

15 FCC rules : "must includes backdoors"

3. meanestgenius

Posts: 21600; Member since: May 28, 2014

6. perry1234

Posts: 633; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Looks like they read your comment and updated the article.

7. meanestgenius

Posts: 21600; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lmao I see.

24. Venom

Posts: 3272; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Looks more like the Huawei Defense Force trying to deny Huawei being shady.

25. meanestgenius

Posts: 21600; Member since: May 28, 2014

The article in the link i provided proves my point. PA even updated heir article to reflect this fact, but way to try and change the facts around to suit your false narrative and push your troll agenda like you usually do.

33. Ashoaib

Posts: 3271; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

https://www.theregister.co.uk/AMP/2019/05/02/cisco_vulnerabilities/ Cisco has a sinister back door. Now ask PA to write about American spying and espionage efforts. And use "communist American government" words in the article. OR use "mafia American government" . "bully American government" will be ok as well. It is US which is a real culprit but blamed others.

35. Venom

Posts: 3272; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I never said the US was innocent now did I?

36. Venom

Posts: 3272; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Lol you want validation so badly that it's hilarious. I'm not trying to change anything. I'm just speaking the cold, hard facts.

39. meanestgenius

Posts: 21600; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lmao you want validation from the “I hate Huawei Brigade” so bad that it’s hilarious. You’re always trying to change the facts to suit your false narrative, and that’s a cold, hard fact.

4. Alcyone

Posts: 257; Member since: May 10, 2018

Someone's late to the party. Slow day on the Samsung news? The laugh is that much better, thanks to as blockers.

5. irwan92

Posts: 41; Member since: Feb 12, 2013

Fake news.. try hard on Huawei

8. User123456789

Posts: 674; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Funny part is when on tech sites someone posts comments that USA government is doing to protect sales of iPhones. LOL .....

9. HildyJ

Posts: 337; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Just to further clarify, the Telnet functions could only be accessed through the LAN and not through a WAN. A quick Google search will show that every major router manufacturer has had backdoors discovered and, like Huawei, has corrected them. Unlike the backdoor the NSA put into Cisco routers, there is nothing to suggest that the Chinese government had anything to do with this.

11. oldskool50

Posts: 962; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

This article is baloney. This is not a backdoor. All networking equipment like switches and routers have alternative ways to access them and here is why. When you have a switch on a network, the owner can close off access to the settings from being accessible by a computer that is plugged into an RJ45 connection. For the people who dont k ow what RJ45, that is the name and size if the Jack that most network cables are plugged into. When this setting in on, the only access to the settings is to plug a computer into the switch or router using either the serial port on the back, or a special RJ45 port on the back for what is usually labelled diagnostics. The only way to use these is either with applications like Telnet, Putty, Terminal or similar. When you are able to access a switch from its normal ports, many of them have a GUI to help with changing of settings. But when you use Telnet or similar, it looks like terminal and the graphics are usually ASCII. This is not a backdoor, but is an alternative method use by network admins to access and change settings. Out the box these device have known logins and passwords that are generic like admin/admin and must be changed. Anyone purchasing such know the defaults must be changed to prevent backdoor access. You cannot turn off this setting because it is a fail safe in the event you have turn off access from other ports and their had to be one to give access to manage the equipment. Calling it a backdoor is a disingenuous because all networking are required to have this. It's a failsafe, not a backdoor. I hope Vodaphone sues Bloomberg for this BS, because its false. Anyone who knows anything about switches and routers already know about Telnet access and anytime a Corp used managed networking EQ feom names like Cisco, any port that allows remote access, are simply locked down with a very strong login and password. This article is complete false and is why Huawei is fight to prove the US is just liars. The Chinese being communist can order Huawei to spy through EQ that has not been locked down. Huawei cannot access EQ that has been properly secured by the owner, just like any other network. This article is fake news for real.

12. JohnR

Posts: 145; Member since: Sep 08, 2017

I'm so sick of tech sites spreading this false narrative, ironically on the same day Huawei is reporting to be thriving in profit. IPhone people feeling a little threatened? I can't wait till Huawei becomes king, leaving it's rivals in the dust.

22. Mikele

Posts: 122; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

Just to bring down Huawei, because their supposed challenger has gone down to history!!

13. mss1988

Posts: 40; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

After daily visit this site for more then 5 years I think I should start ignoring it completely. Fake news, bias, clickbait, unreliable sources and intentional missing of important information... That's justs insults my intellect.

14. maherk

Posts: 6749; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I see that Wallstreet didn't like the recent reports about Huawei's rising dominance and Apple's steady decline. Hope you're getting a big fat for the fake news you have been spreading as of late, especially about Huawei.

15. domfonusr

Posts: 1083; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

I've used Telnet before on old UNIX servers... nothing new here. For a long time, every LAN had Telnet, regardless of the provider, so I am fairly sure that most of this allegation by Bloomberg is just bluster. Still, though, I suspect that there is advantage given to the Chinese government when people, corporations, or government's allow their data to transit Huawei or ZTE networking equipment, even if it is only minor. And it is funny to hear all the Chinese PR bots towing the line that because the NSA does it, America is a bunch of hypocrites. I would rather be surveiled by my own government than by the Chinese government... at least for now.

27. oldskool50

Posts: 962; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

What? You rather be surveiled by your own gov't vs another? What exactly is the difference? I will tell you the difference. If the Chinese Gov't tells Huawei to spy on someone for them, Huawei doesn't have a choice. And then Huawei can simply warn all its customers, that China is asking them to spy and they need to take their own needed action to block it. In the US, they will simply just do it, without you even knowing for the exact same reasons and even if you take them to court for privacy violations, nothign will happen to them. How about we don't want ANYONE spying on its citizens for no valid reason. Picking one over the other as if one is a lesser of 2 evils is BS. The onbly difference is being able to fight them or not. Either way you're gonna lose. In china compliance is a MUST because they are communist and have the authority to simply shut you down and you can't do anything about it. The US Gov't cannot directly shut a business down. But they can most certainly do things that will financially hurt you like, freeze accounts where you can get paid or pay others. They can send a secret military to kill you or threaten yoru family. In china they will just come directly to you and do the same front and center and nothing can be done to prevent it. In fact when it comes to Gov't who are criminal, Communists ones are the best becauase they don't hide what they do. They do whatever right in the street in front of others. if Huawei CEO didn't comply with a spy order, he could get snatched out his office taken outside and killed right in the public eye and nothign could be done. They can't do this in the US like that. But they most certainly have other means to accomplish the same. You can't win either way, but I prefer the in-your-face approach.

29. domfonusr

Posts: 1083; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

It's the old reverse-psychology trope of "if my side does it, then your side must be doing the same, if not worse." I know people in the US military, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, and I trust ALL of them, because, for the most part, they are all regular average Americans who come from all walks of life, my own friends and extended family, and have a vested interest in doing what is right for the country, and the public in this country. If they are watching me, then I could care less, because I have nothing to hide from them at this time. Now, if things change in my country, and, for example, the people in my church start getting targeted for persecution again like what happened mostly in the 1830's and 1840's, then I will reserve the right to change my mind on that subject. And, yes, I understand that if it gets to that point, it will likely be too little too late to reverse it... but I trust the people in those jobs to know what is right and what is wrong. Yes, there are sometimes abuses of such power, even in the US. Agencies get weaponized by certain individuals in leadership in order to attack their political adversaries... and that is WRONG, no matter which country it is happening in. In the US, that kind of thing is generally rare, but is - as we now see in the news - becoming more common. We have a duty, as citizens of this country, to vote for people that we find that meet our better ideals. The Book of Mormon warns those who are willing to listen about the reach and advance of a "secret combination" in our day that is fighting to overthrow the freedom of all lands and all people across the whole world. I have no doubt that the US is one chief-battleground for this "secret combination" to win over the minds and hearts of people, especially leaders, that it can deceive. I personally believe that the day is soon upon us, when this "secret combination" will twist the minds of a majority Americans to choose that which is evil over that which is good - it is already happening now, as I write this - and when that time is accomplished, there will only be one hope for the people of this nation, and for the rest of the world: the return of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

31. domfonusr

Posts: 1083; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

In short, that is how I feel about the whole situation. I know that there is very little that I can do to stem the tide, but at least I can have the humanity to help others around me when they are in need, and raise the warning voice while there may still be time. Even though the time of the secret murders of the "secret combination" have arrived, I don't really believe in a hopeless no-win scenario. I have no intent to offend anyone, but simply have spoken my opinion on this subject that you have brought up... I will not accept communism when it comes to my town, but I will be relying on the Constitution, and my God, to save me and as many of the ones I love, as possible, from the bloodshed, tyranny, rapine, and murder that are soon to come upon us all. Until then, I will work within the existing system to keep the freedom and prosperity that my community has now, if at all possible.

32. domfonusr

Posts: 1083; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

Alright, so I should qualify one more thing... if I was asked to accept communism by the prophet of my church (or other leadership at a local level) in order to save my own life and/or the lives of others, then yes, I would feel obligated to accept communist rule. And I would be blessed for it just as Alma and the people of Hellam were supported by God in the days when the Lamanites and the priests of wicked King Noah placed heavy burdens on their backs, drove them to and fro to keep them laboring, and threatened to kill them if they were caught praying openly. I hope it never comes to that, but it is certainly possible. When China really gets going, and along with their allies Russia, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, and other places, begin to overwhelm the defenses of the US, I fear there will be no stopping them by any mortal means.

30. domfonusr

Posts: 1083; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

sorry, post rearranged...

18. droidnator

Posts: 93; Member since: Mar 10, 2011

So what's new. It's Bloomberg, another fake news, what did you expect from that "media".

20. markusinfinite

Posts: 75; Member since: Aug 05, 2016

It is not the matter of backdoor. Every device has backdoor. The point is where the backdoor is and who is using it. This is the reason why I never buy these devices. Piece of cake but people ignore. If you don't know the background and history you are fine, but if you know about it, keep using it, then you might have to think about what is right and what is not right.

21. Bondurant

Posts: 780; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

This episode is more than enough to trash any future or past claims against Huawei coming out of US govt., US media and any other US tech websites. Don't believe one word coming out of US against Huawei. And phone arena should be firing these anti Huawei writers coming out with a barrage of anti Huawei ariticles in a few span of time like an organized smear campaign.

23. rebretz

Posts: 113; Member since: Dec 26, 2011

5 or 6 years ago a fairly well known Android/Google person went to work for Huawei as Product Manager and up a left fairly quickly Never seen a word about it mentioned from him, just one day gone. Ever since then I've never given Huawei a second look. I used the Nexus 6P but will never get another Huawei device.

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