What Huawei, ZTE Must Do To Regain Trust
The U.S. is not the only country scrutinizing the security of Chinese-made telecom equipment from Huawei and ZTE. Without major changes, significant contracts are at risk
A recently issued U.S. congressional report has cast a shadow on Chinese telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE. Because neither company answered congressional queries to the satisfaction of U.S. lawmakers, the report concludes that the two companies, as a result of ties to the Chinese government, cannot be trusted to supply telecommunications equipment to U.S. government agencies or U.S. companies.
Both companies vigorously argued against the report's conclusions. Huawei condemned the report as an attempt "to impede competition and obstruct Chinese [telecom] companies from entering the U.S. market." ZTE insisted its equipment is safe and that congressional concernsimplicate "every company making equipment in China, including Western vendors."
U.S. lawmakers worry that Chinese-made telecom equipment could contain a hidden backdoor that could be used to eavesdrop on sensitive communications or to disrupt network infrastructure. The version of the report released to the public (a separate classified annex was withheld) contains no evidence that Huawei or ZTE have compromised their products at the behest of Chinese officials. But lack of transparency into the workings of the two companies and lack of answers to lawmakers' queries, in conjunction with ongoing reports about cyber attacks traced to China, have made it difficult for U.S. authorities to trust either company....