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Secret “Back Doors” in Huawei Devices?

If you own a Huawei device, read on.

German magazine Spiegel said secret “back doors” were installed by the U.S. National Security Agency in telecoms equipment manufactured by Chinese telecom giant Huawei and other companies, according to an Associated Press report.

Some researchers also claimed earlier that they discovered vulnerabilities in Huawei routers.

Huawei, however, rejected the reports of its so-called higher vulnerability to security threats, calling them “groundless.”

Huawei’s history

Founded in 1987 by a former Chinese military engineer, Huawei Technologies Ltd. is based in the southern city of Shenzen, near one of the world’s shopping centers that is Hong Kong.

The company is said to have grown quickly in developing countries, but the AP report said it faces difficulties in the United States because of what might be a security risk.

The company continues to deny those claims, or that it’s being controlled by communist government or China’s military, and instead blames it all on competition.

It also said they have 17,000 employee shareholders and will release the list of names and their stakes upon approval from them, to help clarify the allegations of who really controls the company.

But such concerns hindered its efforts for expansion in the US and Australia. In 2011, Australian government blocked Huawei from bidding to work on a national broadband network. The following year, a US congressional panel suggested phone carriers to avoid making business with Huawei or with ZTE Corp.

First-hand experience

A SecurityMatters staff, who once owned a Huawei tablet offered free alongside a postpaid plan, believes there is truth to these findings. “There were a few times when I was speaking with a friend over the tablet and I heard an interruption—like someone was dialing on the other line or just some sort of noisy interruption. My friend also heard it, so I looked at the screen of my tablet to check what was wrong. I saw that numbers and characters were indeed being dialed without me doing it—and to think that my friend was still on the line when that happened. It happened a few times in different calls. It felt unsafe, so I stopped using my tablet.”

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