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Huawei denounces US spying activities

24 March 2014, 08:53

Beijing - Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei on Sunday condemned alleged US National Security Agency infiltration and spying on its corporate network revealed by a German magazine a day earlier.

"If the actions in the report are true, Huawei condemns such activities that invaded and infiltrated into our internal corporate network and monitored our communications," Scott Sykes, Huawei vice president and head of international media affairs, said in a prepared statement.

Corporate networks are constantly probed and attacked from different sources in the digital age, Sykes said. "Huawei disagrees with all activities that threaten the security of networks and is willing to work with all governments, industry stakeholders and customers, in an open and transparent manner, to jointly address the global challenge of network security," he said.

The NSA justified its probing of Huawei by saying many of its targets communicate over Huawei products and this meant it had to keep up with the latest technology, Spiegel Online reported.

Former Chinese president Hu Jintao as well as the foreign and trade ministries in Beijing were among those targeted, according to the magazine, which said its source for the information was documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden's documents suggest that the NSA has invested an especially large effort into Huawei since 2009. Huawei is the world's second-largest supplier of telecommunications networking equipment and a major competitor to the US company Cisco.

Closely guarded intellectual property

A special unit of the NSA managed to infiltrate about 100 locations on Huawei's network and copy internal documents, the report said. This included a list of more than 1 400 customers and documents outlining training procedures for engineers who use Huawei products.

This gave the NSA access not only to an email archive, but also to individual products' secret source code - the most closely guarded intellectual property computer companies hold. One of the internal documents quoted in the report indicated that NSA had so much data it didn't know what to do with all of it.

"The security and integrity of our corporate network and our products are our highest priorities," Sykes said. "That is the reason why we have an end-to-end security assurance system and why we are continuously working to enhance that system.

"Like other enterprises, we continuously block, clean and reinforce our infrastructure from cyber threats."

The latest NSA spying revelations were published on Saturday during US First Lady Michelle Obama's high-profile visit to China where she told Beijing college students that open access to online information is a universal right.

Chinese President Xi Jinping who is currently in Europe is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later this week. Merkel has been another target of US electronic surveillance.

In an email response, the NSA said it doesn't comment on specific, alleged foreign intelligence activities, but reiterated that NSA's activities are focused and deployed against "valid foreign intelligence targets".

The email also said the NSA doesn't use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal trade secrets from foreign companies on behalf of US companies.



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