Tue, Apr 01, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Huawei promises to tighten security after reports of NSA network hacking

AFP, SHANGHAI

Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) yesterday pledged to protect cybersecurity, following reports this month that a US government agency had been secretly tapping the company’s networks.

The New York Times and Germany’s Der Spiegel said the US National Security Agency (NSA) had accessed Huawei’s e-mail archive, communications between top company officials and the source code of some of its products.

The NSA operation grew to include penetrating Huawei communications products sold to third countries in order to “gain access to networks of interest” across the globe, the New York Times reported.

“Protectionism and cybersecurity are just a few of the challenges and risks that we face,” Huawei acting chief executive officer Eric Xu (徐直軍) said in the private company’s annual report for last year.

“Under any circumstance, supporting the stable and secure operations of customers’ networks is our most honored commitment to our customers as well as one of our core strategies,” he said.

Huawei has previously condemned the alleged US activities described in the media reports, which were based on documents provided by fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden, but has not confirmed them.

Shenzhen-based Huawei was founded in 1987 by former People’s Liberation Army engineer Ren Zhengfei (任正非), and is now among the world’s top makers of telecommunications equipment.

Washington has long seen it as a security threat due to perceived close links to the Chinese government, which the company denies, and both the US and Australia have barred it from involvement in broadband projects over espionage fears.

Meanwhile, Huawei announced net profit of 21 billion yuan (US$3.47 billion) last year, up from 15.62 billion in 2012.

Sales revenue surged 8.5 percent year on year to 239.03 billion yuan, the company said.

“Thanks to the favorable global macroeconomic and industry environment, as well as the effective execution of our company strategy, Huawei basically achieved our business targets for 2013,” Xu said.

Huawei forecast a 10 percent increase in sales this year from last year, as the company is broadening its product lineup with smartphones, tablets and business-computing products and services.

The closely held company made 65 percent of revenue from outside China as it targets more sales to larger customers.

However, in the annual report Ren said it would be difficult to catch up or surpass US companies in the firm’s business areas.

“We must be conscious of the power of the United States,” he said. “They have advanced systems, flexible mechanisms, clear property rights and respect and protection of individual rights.”

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