U.S. says it has evidence about Huawei's secret back doors

U.S. says it has evidence about Huawei's secret back doors
Ever since 2012, Americans have been told that Huawei is a national security threat because of a law in China that could force Huawei to gather intelligence (read "spy") on behalf of the Chinese government. As a result, U.S. lawmakers have accused the manufacturer of building back doors into its phones and networking equipment for the express purpose of allowing the company to send collected data to Beijing.

Naturally, Huawei has denied this repeatedly. But today's Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. intelligence officials are once again repeating the same old mantra about the firm's use of back doors. And the new report claims that the company has been using back doors for over a decade in a bid to gather information. U.S. intelligence on Huawei's use of back doors was considered highly sensitive classified material. Yet, those close to the situation say that the U.S. shared some of this intelligence with German and U.K. officials late last year in an unsuccessful bid to keep the two countries from using Huawei's networking equipment in their 5G networks.

Huawei allegedly keeps its lawful interception interfaces hidden from its carrier-clients


For over a year, the Trump administration had been warning allies against the use of Huawei's gear and countries like France, Australia and Japan heeded the warnings. Germany and the U.K. did not with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wondering what alternatives the country had. Not only is Huawei the world's biggest provider of networking equipment, but its technology is also said to be one to two years ahead of those offered by rivals like Ericsson and Nokia. Additionally, Huawei's close ties with the state bank of China allows it to provide generous financing terms to its customers.


The Journal notes that companies producing networking equipment must include a way for law enforcement officials to tap into a network. Each country has its own laws pertaining to this capability, and authorized employees at wireless carriers are allowed to access these "lawful interception interfaces." But U.S. officials say that Huawei keeps the location of these interfaces secret, even to its customers. One U.S. official notes, "Huawei does not disclose this covert access to its local customers, or the host nation national-security agencies." Other rival equipment makers do not have this ability to hide their interfaces from carriers or from the government in the country where the equipment is being employed. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien says, "We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world."

In a statement, Huawei says that it "has never and will never do anything that would compromise or endanger the security of networks and data of its clients. We emphatically reject these latest allegations. Again, groundless accusations are being repeated without providing any kind of concrete evidence." A senior Huawei official also refutes the allegations by stating that "The use of the lawful interception interface is strictly regulated and can only be accessed by certified personnel of the network operators. No Huawei employee is allowed to access the network without an explicit approval from the network operator. Network access without operator permission “is extremely implausible and would be discovered immediately."

Because of fears that the company spies on its clients and others, Huawei was placed on the U.S. Commerce Department's entity list last May. That prevents the firm from accessing the U.S. supply chain it spent over $11 billion on in 2018. It also blocks Huawei from receiving the license it needs to use Google Mobile Services on its phones. While this isn't such a big deal in China where most of Google's apps are banned anyway, it does have an impact on global sales of affected devices. Huawei has developed its own ecosystem using Huawei Mobile Services which is expected to debut this spring with the launch of the Huawei P40 series. HMS will include Huawei's own App Gallery and the company has sought participation from App developers.

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31 Comments

32. tedkord

Posts: 17532; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I'm guessing we'll never see this evidence, like we never saw the evidence that Obama was spying on the Trump campaign, or that millions of illegals voted,.

31. AlienKiss

Posts: 362; Member since: May 21, 2019

Such a good thing that I like only Samsung and Sony :) Who wants a replica brand anyway?

30. ScottsoNJ56

Posts: 174; Member since: Oct 01, 2017

Uh oh. I don't think Huawei will have anything Google for a whilehttps://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1248961/download

26. irwan92

Posts: 58; Member since: Feb 12, 2013

Everyone has back door. Even your father has back door. So whats a fuss about it?

22. geordie8t1

Posts: 345; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

IF, and i do think its a big IF, they do have evidence, then they should make it public knowledge if they want to countries to back them on blocking huawei from trading wit them and building their 5g networks and so on, i do not think it has anything to do with spying, i think its more to do with the trade wars and a power struggle

13. meanestgenius

Posts: 23121; Member since: May 28, 2014

I’m just going to copy/paste my comment from the similar article that was posted on this site a few hours prior to this one: “So, if I understand this correctly, the U.S. government is saying that Huawei has access to backdoors that governments require ALL networking equipment manufacturers to place inside of said networking equipment, while Huawei is saying they don’t have access, they just build the hardware based on what countries/mobile operators require. Meanwhile, NO ONE has seen any evidence of Huawei being able to do so, as the U.S. government hasn’t disclosed this “evidence”, former NSA officials have denied any such occurrences have ever happened, and other companies that deal with the networking equipment that Huawei builds for them have stated there is no indication that network vendors have such access. Lmao this sounds like more of the same smoke and mirrors, crying wolf, BS political propaganda that the U.S. government has been doing since the onset. NO GOVERNMENT that has proof is going to not show proof if they are eagerly and excessively trying to get other countries to not use networking equipment from a specific company. Also, it’s going to be hilarious to see how the usual suspects try and single Huawei out, when this is something that’s placed in networking equipment from ALL vendors, INCLUDING Nokia and Ericsson.” The U.S. government has been actively and aggressively trying to end Huawei and their dominant grip on the networking infrastructure for the world. If they had actual proof, they would be displaying it front and center in neon lights for all the world to see. This is all just more smoke and mirrors sprinkled over the BS political propaganda from the U.S. government.

16. lyndon420

Posts: 6946; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

There's probably a very deep seeded economic reason for all of this. I bet it's big, and it will probably happen within a couple years.

17. meanestgenius

Posts: 23121; Member since: May 28, 2014

Oh, I’m sure this has to do with economics....and power and control.

27. lyndon420

Posts: 6946; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

I'm thinking this will be just another excuse to start another war of some kind. The possibility always looms when on the verge of another nasty recession (history has a way of repeating itself, especially when it comes to our doomed to fail fiat currency system).

19. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2578; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

While I think it is naive to believe the US government, I also think it's naive to believe Huawei. The reality, almost guaranteed, is that both are guilty of creating and using backdoors. The reason I know the US government is lying is because of programs like PRISM that were exposed by Edward Snowden. The reason I know Huawei is lying is that they received the majority of their funding to build their 5G technology from the Chinese military under the 863 program.

21. meanestgenius

Posts: 23121; Member since: May 28, 2014

I’m going by evidence. There is no evidence that Huawei is spying on behalf of the Chinese government. There is plenty of evidence, however, that the U.S. government has been spying all over the world, even using U.S. companies to do it. Show me solid proof of Huawei spying, and I’ll believe it.

28. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2578; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Sure, there actually is evidence. A Taiwanese engineer bought a Huawei tablet a couple years ago that was transmitting data to mainland China. He even tried blocking all apps that were doing it but Huawei didn’t allow the apps to be blocked. You can look it up yourself.

33. meanestgenius

Posts: 23121; Member since: May 28, 2014

Yeah, I’m going to call BS on that. Nokia smartphones were also “transmitting data” to China, but it was discovered that there wasn’t any malicious intent involved. It was because it was a batch of smartphones designated for China.

12. meanestgenius

Posts: 23121; Member since: May 28, 2014

https://www.phonearena.com/news/US-accuses-Huawei-of-espionage-5G_id122195 Alan, in case you are unaware, a similar article has already been posted on this site a few hours before yours.

14. aegislash

Posts: 1541; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

Alan is a repeat offender of reposting news that has already been brought to our attention. I've asked this a million times before and haven't gotten an answer, so I will ask again. Do you guys read your own website before posting articles? Sure doesn't seem that way.

18. meanestgenius

Posts: 23121; Member since: May 28, 2014

Yeah, after seeing this and a few other articles, I’m convinced that no one is checking to see if an article has been posted on the same topic.

11. CDexterWard

Posts: 146; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

Once again there’s evidence, but nothing they publicly disclose, unless if you are a foreign country looking to purchase Huawei 5g equipment, then maybe (maybe) the US defense department will let you take a peek at the cocktail napkin that has all the bad secrets written on it.

8. MsPooks

Posts: 370; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

If the Chinese haven't built back doors into every piece of equipment they sell us, they're idiots. Incompetent idiots.

23. QuantumRazer

Posts: 235; Member since: Apr 27, 2019

It almost sounds like YOU WANT Chinese companies to spy on people, why is that?

29. lyndon420

Posts: 6946; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Sarcasm perhaps?

7. SeanyB unregistered

The US Government just doesn't like Huawei beating Apple in sales. And yes there has been no proof,Trump did same thing to ZTE years ago. That ended in a $2 billion settlement. It's all about trade,money and America being the big bully. If anyone is the spy it's America. So who's next?? Oppo,Xiaomi,Asus??

9. Subie

Posts: 2470; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Apple doesn't sell networking infrastructure. And these accusations go back to 2012 before Trump and before Huawei was a major player in the cell phone industry. ZTE was a different circumstance. Right or wrong ZTE did break certain agreements they had made and that's why they were punished.

10. mackan84

Posts: 718; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Wrong... US government is afraid of Huawei ruling the earths network infrastructure and what China would be able to do with that in a war scenario. They don’t care about Huaweis smartphone sales, besides apple bring in a lot more on their smartphones.

6. SIGPRO

Posts: 2819; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

So where is the actual proof? While it was 100% proven that NSA had backdoors built in Cisco devices, they even spied on allies. US point fingers but they should look at them selves, they are the biggest aggressor!

4. cmdacos

Posts: 4424; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Amazing what they find when Apple is slowing down production. Trump already tweeted that they are targeting Hauwei to help Apple.

3. KingSam

Posts: 1554; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

If you think about it. The US is VERY eager to sink Huawei. It they had evidence they wouldn’t hesitate to publish it and shame Huawei/China.

24. mixedfish

Posts: 1574; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

That's the red herring. If they had the evidence for over 10 years, then why did it take Australians to push the agenda to then finally get the US to listen. Makes absolutely no sense because it doesn't.

1. lyndon420

Posts: 6946; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Meh!! The US government is just upset that android phones (especially Huawei's) are becoming harder to crack than iphones. More often than not, the real enemies are within our own borders.

2. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 734; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

Probably the Americans are right in their warnings. Western nations should stay away from Huawei. There does not seem to be a rational reason justifying to put the entire communication of a country at risk. Who cares if Huawei is two years ahead of the competition? That is nothing compared to a compromised communication infrastructure.

5. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2578; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

They’re not harder to crack. You took a line from an article and misinterpreted it. Only one company didn’t possess the ability to crack into a particular Huawei phone. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a company or program that exists that can hack into their phones.

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