Chinese smartphones still not considered secure for U.S. customers

Avatar By Susan Konig | 3 years ago

Things aren’t looking good for Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and ZTE after top officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI, and Defense Intelligence Agency testified  that they posed a security threat to U.S. customers.

The problems go  back to 2012, when a House Intelligence Committee cited both smartphone makers as potential security risks due to  close ties to the Chinese government. The following year, they were barred from selling product to the U.S. government, according to Tech Crunch.

FBI Director Chris Wray brought up these concerns at a Tuesday Feb. 13 hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. “We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks.,” he said.

Huawei has since issued a response, accusing the government of “inhibiting [its] business in the U.S. market” and adding, “Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities.”

Huawei CEO Richard Yu voiced the same sentiment last month in his keynote speech at the International Consumer Electronics Show. “We’ve won the trust of the Chinese carriers,” he said. “We’ve also won spots on all of the European carriers.”

Those remarks followed the sudden collapse of a deal with AT&T, “seemingly at the behest of the same lawmakers warning against purchasing the company’s hardware,” Tech Crunch reported.  The collapse was a big blow for Huawei, given that a majority of U.S. phone purchases still go through carriers.”