Oct 09, 2012

How valid are the security concerns over Huawei and ZTE products?

Since the House Intelligence Committee released a report that warned against using network equipment from China due to security risks, and mentioned Huawei and ZTE by name. To be honest, I find it a little suspect because (1) it's October, just before the election, (2) it's a Republican ran committee, and (3) Mitt Romney has started criticizing Barak Obama as being "soft on China." The timing just seems a little too convenient.

That said, even a broken clock is right two times a day. Do they have a legitimate concern on this issue?  Would you be hesitant to use Huawei or ZTE products?  What are the alternatives anyway?


Very topical, there is an article on this issue on the landing page of IT World today.  The takeaway I got from that was that aside from security concerns, the issue for many companies is not that Huawei equipment is Chinese, the issue is that their network equipment is not as good as Cisco's.  Good point.


Aside from that, I think that the timing is blatantly political, but the concern is still valid, and that concern is not limited to a house committee trying to score political points.  Australia banned Huawai from contracts to build out the Australian National Broadband Network.  How can you be sure that there aren't ties to the China military with ZTE or Huawei - it's China after all.  And how would you tell if there are back doors anyway without a huge investment of time and effort? 


Just out of curiosity, I wonder if there will be any impact on either company's smartphone sales as a result of the bad publicity.  

I wouldn't touch either company's products with a ten foot pole. Why possibly expose your company to a security risk, if there are products available from other companies?

Even if the whole thing turns out to be hype, it's better to err on the side of caution with sensitive data. Can you imagine what would happen if you used those products and it came out later that those companies were, in fact, engaged in those activities?

Better safe than sorry.
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