China Unicom has removed core cluster routers provided by US-firm Cisco from its China169 backbone network node in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, over security concerns, reports Chinese-language news portal 21cbh.com. Concerns were raised over vulnerabilities and potential loopholes that could be exploited by hackers to disrupt communications or gain access. Cisco’s technology is in widespread use on the China163 and China169 backbone networks – operated by China Telecom and China Unicom respectively – which reportedly carry a combined total of around 80% of the nation’s internet traffic. Security experts claimed that the flaws could paralyze China’s information network, and urged the government to consider the security threat posed by the presence of foreign products in crucial networks.
Unicom’s move follows an investigation in the US into the threat posed by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE. The US and China are not alone in their suspicion of foreign equipment providers, however. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Canada has invoked a ‘national security exception’ allowing it to exclude certain vendors seen as a security risk from projects to build secure communications networks. India has also voiced its concern, and created a shortlist of countries from which it would source equipment to be used for secure networks: China is notably absent from India’s list.