NSA tried to exploit Huawei products to spy on end users

The Chinese tech giant was hacked in 2009 according to the latest reports.

The National Security Agency (NSA) hacked Huawei in 2009 to find a way to exploit their products in order to spy on end users, according to Snowden reports.

During the “Shotgiant” program, the NSA reportedly retrieved the company’s source code for several products, due to ongoing suspicions of the Chinese company.

Judging by the reports from The New York Times and Der Spiegel, there is no word on whether the security agency was successful in finding vulnerabilities on Huawei’s gear, which could have led to direct access to customer's devices. The report reveals other documents, such as customer lists and emails, were also stolen in the online raid.   

The hacking scandal came in a time where it was believed the Chinese company was a threat to national US security. The NSA was also concerned that the Chinese government might use Huawei's presence in foreign countries for espionage purposes.

​Plummer responded to the conflict by denying the company's involvement with network security breaches.

According to William B. Plummer, the company’s vice president of external affairs, Huawei denies involvement with activities that threaten network security

“Huawei has declared its willingness to work with governments, industry stakeholders and customers in an open and transparent manner, to jointly address the global challenges of network security and data integrity. The information presented in Der Spiegel and the New York Times article reaffirms the need for all companies to be vigilant at all times.” 

In response to the saga, NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines said the agency does not disclose specific information to certain operations.

We do not use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of - or give intelligence we collect to - US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”

Source: GigaomNews.com.au | Images via IBNLiveVoice of America

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

13 great Windows apps for users switching from Android and iOS tablets

Next Story

Details emerge on Amazon's rumored smartphone

31 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

As Snowden is a guest of the Russian Federation, I would not be surprised if the Russian government suggests certain leaks to Snowden in a bid to discredit the US government even more. All in the benefit of the Russian Federation.

Right now i dont think anything snowden is saying is a lie. If the claims get a lot more outrages then i might start to doubt him. Right now he has the stick of truth and can use it as much as he wants.

How come this article doesn't mention Obama? Isn't he the President of the United States? Isn't he the President who issued the most illegal Executive Orders in the history of the Presidency, yet he will not doing anything to hinder of limit the work of the NSA on the American people? He campaigned on stuff like this 6 years ago. Even 2 years ago? Are people so happy with their free Obama smartphones that they are willing to forget?

There's quite a silly debate going on in these comments about whether or not the NSA collects data about everyone, me and you? And if this data was ever made available to other agencies, companies or even foreign governments?

The truth is yes, the NSA collects all the information it can about everyone and stores it in case it's ever needed. But it does not make the data available to other entities. There would be no need to when these entities - even the Iranian government - can simply buy everything they want to know about you from Google whose entire existence is predicated on them selling your private information to anyone willing to pay for it.

Isn't America wonderful....

This story seems totally off base to what the story out on the web is... the NSA hacked Huawei computer networks to investigate if Huawei was planting backdoor's in their hardware for the Chinese government to access.

The story reads almost backwards..

Because the NSA is backwards. They're a criminal organization, paid to be criminal for the World Domination Strategy.

You don't seem to get that all the leaks over the last decade have been hinting at serious corruption and criminal activity within our own government. None of the surveillance stuff has anything to do with "fighting" crime or terrorism; these guys are about hacking people, setting them up, and spying on everyone illegally for their own nefarious purposes. It has nothing to do with "national security" or "fighting terrorism" as the leaks have proven time and time over. This is about controlling the population, controlling people who aren't in the military.

The headline is probably wrong. The NSA likely hacked to get the source code only to learn if parts of the code were designed to spy on Western countries/companies. QC on Huawei would find modified code. For that reason, I don't believe the NSA is stupid enough to leave spy code on OEM parts. It's likely to be injected post shipping via interception, not during production.

And, yeah, if the information was in a Snowden leak then it came from the NSA. Snowden's doesn't need to make this stuff up. Without adult supervision (responsible public oversight, not secret courts), the NSA overreached.

There is a huge amount of code in these things, if somethings working then generally you're not going to read over the file and look for extra additions.
A bit like when GNAA put a backdoor into the linux kernel, it was only really found out later on when they published an article on their site they'd done it because it was designed to look like it should have been there.

Silly NSA, thinking they could get Huawei to do their dirty work. Huawei is already spying for the Chinese agencies.

Ronnet said,
Silly NSA, thinking they could get Huawei to do their dirty work. Huawei is already spying for the Chinese agencies.

The NSA was probably just verifying that the Chinese backdoor was there, and if they could use it too... which, to be fair, is their job.

As the owner of a Huawei phone I'd give zero shits if the Chinese Govt is listening in to my calls. Not like I ever plan to go near China.

I'd have more issue with the Yanks listening in because they're clearly lunatics.

I must not be understanding something... They hacked a chinese company and stole trade secrets and the source code, completely illegal under US and chinese law.
So why aren't people being held accountable for it? If someone in the UK breaks US law, the US is up in arms right away getting them extradited, why haven't all the NSA team been sent to china to be shot in a line-up parade?

according to Snowden reports.

I should have stopped there. Im gonna register a account on some random forum with the "Snowden" nick and start making stories too...

Unless there is a official communication from a company, some individual making up reports does not make them true. And once again, like Ive said it 1000 times, the NSA does not care about you, me, or your loved ones nor do they have the time to waste on our worthless lives.

You couldn't be more wrong, for the 1000th time. It's been acknowledged that the NSA collects data on everyone and stores it for possible later use. Which means, anytime any govt or LE needs to learn about you, they have your entire life at their fingertips. They can then easily find something to leverage against you to get what they want. It's illegal, unconstitutional and maddening that people like you keep spewing nonsense that "They're not interested in you", they absolutely are.

Hahaiah said,
You couldn't be more wrong

Source?


Hahaiah said,

, for the 1000th time. It's been acknowledged that the NSA collects data on everyone and stores it for possible later use. Which means, anytime any govt or LE needs to learn about you, they have your entire life at their fingertips.

See? You just proved you are spreading BS.

You wrote "any govt or LE needs to learn about you, they have your entire life at their fingertips. " AFAIK, the NSA is a US organization so, say, Iraq, wanted your entire life, they wouldnt have it at their fingertips as they would have to ask the US and the US would want to handle that information over...So thats one lie you spread.


Hahaiah said,

They can then easily find something to leverage against you to get what they want. It's illegal, unconstitutional and maddening that people like you keep spewing nonsense that "They're not interested in you", they absolutely are.

Ive never heard that it be legal (well, never heard of any case period) of using classified goverment information in a civialian case to make someone guilty.

And again, NSA is NOT intrested you. Im sorry to be the one to tell you this but you are not important. Dont get me wrong, Im not important either but we are just not important for some guy/girl to be reading what we write in a tech forum...

As much as I distrust the NSA, I distrust the Chinese even more. This move seems purely in the interest of security, which is the NSA's job. Spying on your own citizens = BAD. Spying on a corporation owned and operated in a Communist country = GOOD.

So then...you don't buy any piece of electronic equipment. Because that tv in your house or that computer you used to type that comment, or the smartphone you use to talk on all have components from China. No matter how hard you try, you cannot get away from it.

#Michael said,
So then...you don't buy any piece of electronic equipment. Because that tv in your house or that computer you used to type that comment, or the smartphone you use to talk on all have components from China. No matter how hard you try, you cannot get away from it.

While it's true that lots of things are made in China, like they are in lots of parts of the world, India, Taiwan, etc. The thing to remember is that, last I heard, the Chinese government owns a part of this company in question. While the odds of them owning a part of the company that made your TV or the computer you're typing on are slim to none.

George P said,

The thing to remember is that, last I heard, the Chinese government owns a part of this company in question. While the odds of them owning a part of the company that made your TV or the computer you're typing on are slim to none.

FYI: No, the Chinese government do NOT own any part of Huawei which is 100% privately held. This is a big problem for Huawei in China because they are regularly beaten by State Owned companies such as Great Wall when they bid for Chinese government contracts.

But let's not let a bit of truth get in the way of a good old paranoid rant eh?

so those smear campaign against Huawei is because NSA failed to find any vulnerabilities in Huawei product, and therefore wish for public to stay away from using the Chinese product?

Mostly true but also: those smear campaigns are part of the NSAs world domination strategy to manipulate and control the markets, keep corporations and companies using the products that are vulnerable, and to take the attention off the USA and make us look like we care about security and aren't the ones wreaking havoc across the globe. More details about this all here with satellite and radar weapons details: http://www.oregonstatehospital.../russelltice-nsarnmebl.html

The USA government doesn't want people to realize they're corrupt and out to control and dominate the world. Many whistleblowers back it up. Like Russell Tice, Bill Binney, Dr. Robert Duncan, Mark Phillips, and Thomas Drake.

Edited by nullie, Mar 23 2014, 7:48pm :

Who knows, but at this point Snowden can say basically anything and get press for it, how true or not it is I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if this was true, but then I also wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese government doesn't have it's hooks into Huawei or ZTE to some extent.

George P said,
Who knows, but at this point Snowden can say basically anything and get press for it, how true or not it is I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if this was true, but then I also wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese government doesn't have it's hooks into Huawei or ZTE to some extent.

Yeah, true or not though, I don't think Snowden was after the truth but just awareness that laws are being broken (both here in the US and internationally) and that there really isn't a checks and balances for what the NSA is doing. Or any other highly touted government protection agency.

We have no reason to believe the info he's given us is not true. His position within the NSA was confirmed - he certainly had access to all the information he's given us.

George P said,
Who knows, but at this point Snowden can say basically anything and get press for it, how true or not it is I don't know.

I couldn't have said it any better. Thanks.

Jahooba said,
We have no reason to believe the info he's given us is not true. His position within the NSA was confirmed - he certainly had access to all the information he's given us.

Well, he no longer works there. What are they going to do, fire him? He can say whatever he wants.

Snowden could say anything and get press? That means he's credible. So far, everything he's said has been true.

The NSA and the Obama administration have consistently lied about everything, however. Remember how they're not reading your email? Yea.

Not to change the subject, but good spies don't get caught spying. The NSA gets caught all the time. They are very bad at what they do. Yet they tell us they are keeping us safe with all this spying.

Why aren't more people talking about how bad the NSA is at the national security thing, while they lie to us about what they are doing?