US officials claim Huawei embeds backdoors in its telecoms networks

The Chinese firm has hit back, suggesting the US is "unwilling to consider the facts"

US officials have made new accusations about Huawei's alleged spying activities, claiming the company is maintaining backdoors into its telecoms networks that can be accessed remotely. 

The allegations centre on the use of backdoors in networking equipment like base stations and antennas, which are installed for legitimate use by law enforcement by virtually all manufacturers, not just Huawei. 

However, US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien has claimed the Chinese firm has retained access to these backdoors without notifying the carriers that use its equipment, according to The Wall Street Journal . 

It's also reported that these details were disclosed to both UK and German officials at the end of 2019 after the US had allegedly noticed access to 4G equipment going back to 2009. 

"We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world," national security adviser Robert O'Brien told the WSJ.

Although these allegations are still quite vague, they are the most detailed information yet as to what led the US to block companies from supplying equipment and services to Huawei at the start of 2019. Throughout last year, a number of US-based software and hardware suppliers had to cut ties with the Chinese company to comply with the government's legislation.

Before the ban came into force, companies such as Vodafone and Microsoft called on the US to release its evidence, but it's taken a year for any further details of the alleged evidence to be made public. 

In January, it was reported that the US shared intelligence on security concerns regarding Chinese manufacturers with the Dutch government and the same officials also disclosed the information to their British counterparts in the run-up to its long-awaited decision on whether Huawei could continue to play a role in its 5G deployment. 

IT Pro has approached Huawei for comment but hadn't received a response at the time of publication. However, Huawei's chief security officer, Andy Purdy, told The Verge"We vigorously deny the allegation that we retain any such capability. We also deny that we have ever improperly accessed customer information or customer data.

"The US is committed to this, and I think it's really prompted by the geopolitical situation between China and the US. The US is unwilling to consider the facts and the evidence, and they're going to do whatever they can to block our ability to provide products to communication networks around the world."

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