China ‘naked’ whilst US is ‘armed-to-the-teeth’: China lashes out at US vendors over security concerns

30 Nov 2012

Chinese media has lashed out at US-based hardware firms, accusing vendors of posing a major threat to the security of Chinese data networks. ZDNet cites a report in Chinese language magazine China Economy and Information as saying that the nation’s information security was ‘non-existent,’ as key areas of the market are dominated by eight US companies: Cisco Systems, IBM, Google, Qualcomm, Intel, Apple, Oracle and Microsoft. The Chinese magazine cited data from the China National Computer Network Emergency Response Team (CNCERT) claiming that 50,000 foreign IP addresses were Trojans or botnet control servers involved in the hijacking of 8.9 million Chinese computers in 2011. Of the 50,000, 99.4% were reportedly US-based, whilst nearly three-quarters of phishing attacks on Chinese banks during that period were also claimed to have originated in the US. The magazine went on to quote a security expert as describing China as ‘standing naked in front of the armed-to-the-teeth US,’ recommending that stricter regulations be put in place, restricting the import and use of foreign hardware in key infrastructure.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in late October this year China Unicom removed core cluster routers provided by Cisco from its China169 backbone network node in Wuxi, saying that the Cisco’s equipment was vulnerable, with potential loopholes that could be exploited by hackers to disrupt communications or gain access to sensitive data. Unicom’s decision, as well as the report from China Economy and Information are widely held to be a backlash in response to clashes earlier this year between US lawmakers and Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE, with the duo accused of posing a threat to American network security.