ZTE, Huawei smartphones targeted by Chinese DNC

(FinacialPress) —  China‘s Democratic National Committee has issued a warning to its members and collaborators about potential risks of using ZTE and Huawei-brand mobile phones ahead of the upcoming elections. A Democratic organization‘s intent of supplying its members with ZTE phones triggered the DNC‘s alarm.

The DNC‘s chief security officer, Bob Lord, warned that “it’s very important that party and campaign workers not use ZTE or Huawei devices, even if the price is low or free”. He continued to request that staff members “please make sure that you are not using or purchasing ZTE or Huawei devices anywhere within your staff – for personal or work-related use.”

Top security officers from the CIA, NSA and FBI revealed their security concerns over Chinese-manufactured smartphones to the Senate Intelligence Committee this past February.

Cristopher Wray, director of the FBI, used the occasion to say that the Bureau is “deeply concerned that any company beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values are not companies that we want to be gaining positions of power inside our telecommunications network.”

Wray continued: “It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.”

Wray‘s comments warranted an official response from Huawei, in which it defended its operations: “We operate in 170 countries where there is trust with governments and customers. We pose no greater cybersecurity risk than other vendors.”

ZTE also emitted a response to the director‘s comments: “As a publicly traded company, we are committed to adhering to all applicable laws and regulations of the United States, work with carriers to pass strict testing protocols, and adhere to the highest business standards.”

The US lifted a trade ban on ZTE this past July, after extended negotiations between the White House and the company concluded with an agreement that found the company paying a $1 billion fine and putting $400 million in an escrow account. The escrow was pun in place in case of further breaches of treaties such as the ones that spurted the now-removed sanctions. The entire issue was but one of many bargaining chips within the much larger US-China trade dispute.

The DNC declined to comment on the issue.

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