Vendor hacking accusations prompts investigation

10 Feb 2014

India has launched an investigation after media reports claimed that Chinese vendor Huawei had hacked into state backed Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL’s) network, Stabroek News cites Killi Kruparani, junior minister for communications and information technology, as saying. Following allegations that Huawei had hacked into a BSNL mobile station controller, ‘the government constituted an inter-ministerial committee to investigate the matter’, the official said. The supplier has faced scrutiny in India in recent years, with the nation’s foreign intelligence agency the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) warning the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in April 2012 to be cautious in its dealings with the vendor, noting: ‘Huawei Technologies is known to have links with the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] and the ministry of state security of China.’ As previously noted by CommsUpdate, India’s ministries have something of a confused policy towards China, on the one hand calling for restrictions to be imposed on the use of Chinese imports in the telecoms industry in August 2013, only to list the country as a potential partner in technology research, development and manufacturing the following month. Huawei’s alleged ties with the PLA have scuppered deals elsewhere, with US lawmakers claiming in October 2012 that the use of equipment from Huawei and ZTE in critical or sensitive telecoms infrastructure posed a potential security risk.

Dismissing the recent accusations, a spokesperson for Huawei India said: ‘Huawei India denies such alleged hacking and continues to work closely with customers and governments in India to address any network security issue that may arise in technical and business operations,’ adding that the vendor complies with all network security norms and regulations.