Chinese telecom equipment manufacturers Huawei and ZTE have again come under the scanner of Indian intelligence agencies following a report by Pentagon that said China is involved in widespread cyber espionage.
In a report released on Monday, the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) has said that intrusions originating from China have been designed to steal confidential information around the nation’s “diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support national defense programs.”
“We know about the concerns of intelligence agencies and are expediting developing system for testing the telecom equipments of foreign manufacturers in networks,” said an official of India’s department of telecommunications (DoT).
The government is setting up a testing lab at IISc, Bangalore where all the equipments will be tested.
The cabinet secretariat had earlier written a letter to DoT expressing concerns over the induction of large scale foreign telecom equipments, especially by Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei, in private and government networks without testing. The secretariat had asked DoT to make provisions for identifying Spyware, Malware and bugging software in the equipment.
Indian intelligence agencies have been warning the government about the potential security threat posed by the Chinese companies. RAW had, last year, informed DoT that Huawei had links with the Chinese Army. “Huawei Technologies is known to have links with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the ministry of state security of China..,” RAW wrote to DoT.
This is second such report in seven months by a US department/committee. In October, the permanent select committee on Intelligence of the US house of representatives came out with a report titled “Investigative report on the US national security issues posed by Chinese telecommunications firms Huawei and ZTE.”
The report has warned that equipment made by the two Chinese firms posed risk because it could be used to eavesdrop on the nation’s telecoms networks.
When contacted, both Huawei and ZTE declined to comment.