According to an interesting Reuters report, a White House-ordered investigation into Huawei that lasted 18 months has turned up no evidence that the company is actively spying. According to Reuters’ sources, though, the report still suggests that Huawei poses a threat to security because of easily hacked exploits and safety vulnerabilities.
The White House has thus far denied that such an investigation occurred — but it would be classified, so that’s more or less par for the course — but if this report is true, it may still not mean what it seems. Although Reuters sources are confident that if Huawei was actively engaging in spying it would have been discovered, there’s no way of knowing whether the security vulnerabilities found were accidental or were intentional flaws that could have been intended to easily leak sensitive data to hackers. So, although Huawei has been kind of cleared, it’s still not off the hook, and it doesn’t seem likely it will be any time soon.
Chinese net users continue to be unamused by what is seem as American bullying and protectionism. “Suspending normal business operations because you suspect Huawei has the potential to be involved in spying is just as ridiculous as locking up everyone with two hands because you suspect that have the potential to be thieves,” wrote one commenter on Sina Tech. Many commenters pointed out the perceived hypocrisy of the US given the ubiquitousness of Cisco. “America’s Cisco equipment is used all over the world, is that a threat to the national security of other countries?” asked another commenter. Many suggested that China’s government should kick Cisco, Microsoft, and other American tech companies out of China.
As we’ve mentioned before, a lot of the concern about Huawei comes from the fact that the company was founded by a former PLA officer. But are the security flaws discovered by this investigation intentional? There’s no way of telling. Certainly, security vulnerabilities of one kind of another are present in almost every tech product. Perhaps if the US report is ever declassified and released, we’ll learn more about what kind of vulnerabilities Huawei equipment was found to have and how easy those flaws would be to exploit.
[Reuters via Sina Tech]