Routers are the ubiquitous network devices operating quickly behind the scenes making Internet traffic possible. The recently published Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage report that called out Russia and China has caused lawmakers to begin an investigation into Chinese ZTE and Huawei network devices. According to the report, “Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage. US private sector firms and cybersecurity specialists have reported an onslaught of computer network intrusions that have originated in China, but the intelligence community cannot confirm who was responsible.” The Chinese companies have responded, essentially calling the report baseless and irresponsible without investigation. Considering the level of overt intrusion attempts already documented from the Chinese (and that’s six years ago), the risk is whether or not the devices contain covert, embedded firmware backdoors allowing the Chinese government (and state-sponsored industry) limitless access to the networks where their equipment is installed or even the possibility of crippling targeted infrastructure on demand.
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