China could be leveraging electronic exports to spy on the US

By on December 1, 2011, 11:00 AM

The United States is forcing telecommunications companies like AT&T and Verizon to hand over sensitive data regarding their network infrastructure to sniff out potential Chinese spies. Officials are concerned that China may be leveraging their exports into the county to spy on the US.

The US Commerce Department sent out a survey in April asking for detailed records regarding foreign-made software and hardware that telecommunications companies, software makers and information-security companies are using. Specifically, the survey requested to know the manufacturer of equipment including optical-transmission components, base-station controllers and transceivers.

Results from the survey were to be shared with the Defense Department and added to a database to map who made which parts on various networks.

AT&T and Verizon were among the dozens of businesses that received the survey. To collect data from companies, the US is using a 1950 law called the Defense Production Act that was used sporadically during the Cold War. Failure to comply could result in unspecified criminal penalties.

According to Joshua Pennell, president of Seattle-based cyber security firm IOActive Inc., spyware embedded within hardware or hidden in millions of lines of code could intercept sensitive information while being extremely difficult to detect. Having access to such data would give China industrial and political advantages.

In 2008, an Insignia brand digital photo frame sold by Best Buy was discovered running malicious software that had been embedded during the manufacturing process. The retailer was able to trace the software to a single computer at the manufacturer’s plant in China but refused to comment on who specifically installed the code or why.

Data was to be submitted by June 10 according to the survey but that deadline was extended when several companies expressed concern about how the sensitive material would be handled.

Code image from Shutterstock.




User Comments: 14

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Guest said:

First it was parts in vehicles. Then it was parts in missiles. Now this. Stop outsourcing already

yRaz yRaz said:

Guest said:

First it was parts in vehicles. Then it was parts in missiles. Now this. Stop outsourcing already

That will never happen, corporations are too busy keeping their profits up to worry about national security.

yRaz yRaz said:

Guest said:

First it was parts in vehicles. Then it was parts in missiles. Now this. Stop outsourcing already

That will never happen, corporations are too busy keeping their profits up to worry about national security.

DokkRokken said:

yRaz said:

Guest said:

First it was parts in vehicles. Then it was parts in missiles. Now this. Stop outsourcing already

That will never happen, corporations are too busy keeping their profits up to worry about national security.

Corporations are busy giving the consumers what they want: cheap electronic goods. That's what contributes to outsourcing and offshoring. It's greed, but corporations are merely the conduit.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Lol, greedy corporations are the root of all evil, aren't they yRaz? I'm so sick of hearing about greed. Greed is human nature. From a stockbroker trying to use insider information to the lady I know at work who files her taxes as a single mom even though she lives with her husband just because she can. Or maybe the occupy protestor calling for someone to pay his college loans is a better example.

The difference is, corporations are ALWAYS audited by the IRS, they employ the vast majority of the workforce, they're forced to high moral standards by the media, and part of their marketing strategy and brand building often involves huge contributions to foundations and charity.

They pay only as much tax as the govt makes them pay (just like you), so blame Obama if you think they have too much money. it's his health care plan that has the big question mark in the costs column for 2013 and 2014. And that's why growth and hiring is slow right now.

You can choose to beleive whatever you want, of course, but just understand it's fairly separated from reality.

Guest said:

I was watching an early 1960 show and one of the villains was from China, the funny thing he said was "China will overtake the West; it doesn't matter whether it takes 5 years, 50 years, or 1000 years, it is inevitable."

ramonsterns said:

milwaukeemike said:

Lol, greedy corporations are the root of all evil, aren't they yRaz? I'm so sick of hearing about greed. Greed is human nature. From a stockbroker trying to use insider information to the lady I know at work who files her taxes as a single mom even though she lives with her husband just because she can. Or maybe the occupy protestor calling for someone to pay his college loans is a better example.

The difference is, corporations are ALWAYS audited by the IRS, they employ the vast majority of the workforce, they're forced to high moral standards by the media, and part of their marketing strategy and brand building often involves huge contributions to foundations and charity.

They pay only as much tax as the govt makes them pay (just like you), so blame Obama if you think they have too much money. it's his health care plan that has the big question mark in the costs column for 2013 and 2014. And that's why growth and hiring is slow right now.

You can choose to beleive whatever you want, of course, but just understand it's fairly separated from reality.

White knight of the corporations, are you? Put up your dukes, we'll settle this like gentlemen.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

This type of thing has been happening for 30 years.

DokkRokken said:

amstech said:

This type of thing has been happening for 30 years.

According to the internet, it's all 'bama's fault.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I am absolutely certain that Americans too do the same thing, whenever they sell 'sensitive' technology to other countries. I remember reading an article how other countries usually 'take apart' american military hardware (e.g. range finders, navigation and other systems, radars etc.) to root out any 'un-wanted' piece of technology. So, when they talk about such intrusions from Chinese, it make sense just as well

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Back in the 60's and 70's, there were just certain days when you couldn't convince us that the TV wasn't looking back at you.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

....[ ]....Greed is human nature.
That's pretty much a slam dunk statement. I think it's because man is the most efficient predator the planet has ever produced. As an individual, meh, so-so, but in a pack wowie!

The difference is, corporations are ALWAYS audited by the IRS, they employ the vast majority of the workforce, they're forced to high moral standards by the media, and part of their marketing strategy and brand building often involves huge contributions to foundations and charity.
You forgot to mention the free broadcast TV! You can always mute the sound during the commercials.

They pay only as much tax as the govt makes them pay (just like you), so blame Obama if you think they have too much money. it's his health care plan that has the big question mark in the costs column for 2013 and 2014. And that's why growth and hiring is slow right now.
Listen, the oil and gas lobbies advertising on TV as to why they think they shouldn't pay taxes, is flat out offensive, by any definition of standard.

You can choose to beleive whatever you want, of course, but just understand it's fairly separated from reality.
You mean like everybody thinking the economy has turned around because everybody ran up their credit cards on Black Friday! Or for that matter thinking the garbage coming out of the mint is worth something?

Guest said:

China has in Canada alone, more than a thousand spies on her payroll. I invite you to check out this link; it's a full blown massive spying campaign:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_intelligence_activity_a
road

abe10tiger abe10tiger, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Reminds me of Fallout 3. XDD

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