Special Report: Huawei’s shackling – Scenes of US war on the Chinese giant

File Reuters

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — In early 2018, a team of hackers working for the Australian government worked on a digital destructive exercise in a cluster of low-rise buildings in the Australian capital.

Officials posed a challenge to team members, officers from the Australian Signal Administration, the official agency responsible for eavesdropping and secretive.

The question to be answered was how much damage they could inflict if they had access to the equipment of the fifth-generation mobile communications network in a hostile country and at the same time had all the cyber attack tools at their disposal?

Current and former government officials say the team’s findings have opened the eyes of Australian security and political leaders to dangerous realities. The offensive potential of the fifth generation was so huge that Australia would be seriously exposed if it was targeted by such attacks.

Sources familiar with the deliberations said that understanding how the fifth generation could be used to spy and sabotage basic infrastructure was not everything for Australians.

Mike Burgess, head of signal management, recently explained the importance of fifth-generation technology security. In a speech in March at a Sydney research institute, he explained that it was an integral part of communications at the heart of the country’s critical infrastructure and everything from electric power to water supply and drainage Health.

Many widely believe Washington has taken the lead in the global campaign against Huawei Technologies, a technology giant that in the three decades since its founding has been a key ingredient in China’s quest to expand its global reach.

But Reuters interviews with more than 20 current and former Western officials show that Australians were the first to demand action on the fifth generation and that the United States slowed down initially and that Britain and other European countries were torn between security concerns and competitive prices. Huawei.

Australians have long had concerns about Huawei in existing networks, but the fifth-generation maneuver has been a turning point. Six months after the experiment began, the Australian government effectively banned Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications network equipment, and prevented it from participating in fifth-generation deployment plans.

An Australian government spokeswoman declined to comment on the exercise.

After the Australian side briefed the US leaders on what had been reached, other countries, including the United States, began to act to restrict Huawei.

The crackdown on Huawei intensified last week when US President Donald Trump signed an executive order effectively banning Huawei equipment in US telecommunications networks for reasons of national security and the Commerce Department restricted the company’s purchases of US technology.

Google has suspended some of its dealings with Huawei.

General James Jones, who retired from the US Marine Corps and served as national security adviser to President Barack Obama, said the US government had not been interested until mid-last year.

Now, Americans are waging an intense campaign to contain Huawei as part of a broader effort to curb Beijing’s growing military power under President Xi Jinping. The strengthening of cyber operations is a key element of the massive military development initiated by Shi after taking office in 2012, according to official US and Chinese military documents.

The United States has accused China of using electronic penetration on a large scale for strategic and commercial gains.

– Threat to sensitive infrastructure –

Washington fears that Beijing will have an unprecedented opportunity to attack sensitive infrastructure and jeopardize the exchange of intelligence with key allies if Huawei can establish its footprints in the world’s fifth-generation networks.

Senior Western security officials say this could involve cyber attacks on public utilities, telecommunications networks and major financial centers.

In any military confrontation, such attacks could lead to a major shift in the nature of the war, causing economic damage and disrupting civilian life away from the battlefields.

China will certainly be vulnerable to attacks by the United States and its allies. Beijing complained in a defense document from 2015 entitled “China’s military strategy” that it is a victim of cyber espionage without specifying who is responsible.

Documents from the National Security Agency, American Squadron Edward Snowden, showed that the United States had penetrated Huawei’s systems, according to media reports. Reuters was unable to verify an independent source of the incursions.

But Huawei’s prevention is a major challenge for Washington and its closest allies, especially other members of a group called the Five Eyes of Intelligence Exchange – Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

From humble beginnings in the 1980s in the southern city of Shenzhen, Huawei has grown to become a giant in the world of technology with extensive activity in global communications networks and is poised to dominate the world of fifth-generation infrastructure.

There are no global alternatives to Huawei, which has financial capabilities. Its revenue jumped nearly 20 percent last year to more than $ 100 billion, as well as its competitive technology and political support from Beijing.

“Restrictions on Huawei’s business in the United States will not make the United States safer or stronger,” the company said in a statement in response to questions from Reuters. Such moves would restrict “customers in the United States with lower-priced, more expensive alternatives,” she said.

For those countries that exclude Huawei, the risk of reprisals by Beijing is high. Since Australia banned the company from working on fifth generation networks last year, its coal exports to China have been turbulent, including delays in customs from the Chinese side. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it treated all imported coal as one.

The tensions over Huawei also reveal differences among the five eye groups that are the foundations of Western security after World War II. During a trip to London on May 8, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a stern warning to Britain, which did not rule out Huawei’s use of fifth-generation networks.

Huawei’s founder is Ren Zheng, 74, a former Chinese army officer. “Mr. Ren has always insisted on Huawei’s integrity and independence. We have never been asked to cooperate in espionage and we will refuse to do so under any circumstances.”

Washington says there is no need for secret rear doors to disrupt fifth-generation systems. These systems will rely heavily on software updates to be paid by equipment suppliers, and the United States says this access to fifth-generation networks could be used to deploy malicious software.

So far, America has not publicly disclosed concrete evidence that Huawei’s equipment could be used in espionage.

– Technological threat –

The West has long been concerned about Chinese communications equipment. In 2012, a report by the House Intelligence Committee concluded that Chinese technology companies were a threat to national security. Huawei condemned the report.

Despite these concerns, the US government’s response to the risks posed by the fifth generation networks has only recently crystallized.

In February 2018, Australia’s then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull went to Washington and sounded alarm bells even before the Australian Eavesdropping exercise. Turnbull was a former technology entrepreneur and believed that fifth-generation technology posed great risks and wanted to urge allies to move against Huawei.

The fifth-generation technology is expected to provide a huge leap in communications speed and capacity. Data downloads may be 100 times faster than current networks.

But the fifth generation does not mean just speed. As it will allow a steady increase in the number of connections between the billions of devices expected to operate on the fifth generation of smart refrigerators to cars without driver.

“It is not that more people will have multiple devices, but machines will address machines and devices that will address devices,” said Mr Burgess, head of the Australian Signal Administration, in his March speech. All with the capabilities of the fifth generation.”

Huawei said in a statement that the company “does not control by any means on the companies in which our customers install our equipment. The American and Australian allegations are fictional and have no basis in any evidence at all. ”

In July 2018, Britain sent a blow to Huawei, a government-led body that included senior intelligence officials said it no longer fully trusted its ability to manage the national security risks posed by China’s giant communications equipment company.

The commission supervises the work of a plant established by the British government in 2010 and financed by Huawei to inspect the equipment of the company used in Britain. The plant was founded because Huawei was considered a security threat at the time.

A US official said the report was a bomb that shaped US officials’ vision of Huawei’s fifth generation risk.

US officials also point to Chinese laws issued in recent years that say they may force individuals and businesses to help the Chinese government with espionage.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry called it “a misinterpretation and deliberate distortion of the relevant Chinese laws.”


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