US Democratic candidates running in an upcoming election have been warned against using devices made by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE because they pose a security risk.
Reuters reported the warning came from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), who’s chief security officer Bob Lord told candidates running in elections taking place in November it was important for party and campaign workers to be vigilant about the two vendors’ products.
The US government has stepped up scrutiny against Chinese companies this year, pressuring US companies to strip back activities with Huawei and ZTE and to stop selling their products. The Trump administration also blocked a deal for AT&T to sell Huawei devices in the US.
An email to Democratic candidates by Lord stated: “Please make sure you are not using or purchasing ZTE or Huawei devices anywhere within your staff – for personal or work-related use.”
The US Department of Defence already stopped selling mobile phones and modems by the Chinese companies on its military bases, while Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai also shared concerns that devices made by Huawei carried spying threats.
US authorities are also in the process of investigating whether Huawei violated trade restrictions covering Iran. The government held a similar probe into ZTE, which caused the Chinese vendor to shutdown major parts of its business, before relaunching operations after reaching a settlement.
UK security concerns
Huawei is also facing increased security scrutiny in the UK over new allegations it is using ageing software sold by a US-based company. Reuters reported the British government is concerned about Huawei’s use of Wind River Systems’ VxWorks operating system, which sources said could be subject to new security risks from 2020, leaving networks in the UK vulnerable to attack.
The Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) oversight board, set up in 2014, recently raised concerns around “technical issues” in the vendor’s engineering processes.