Chinese media warns US tech companies are cyber 'threats'

Summary:Chinese state media has warned that Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Microsoft, along with a host of other US technology companies can become "cybersecurity threats" to Chinese users, as the country moves to review imported technology.

Chinese state English-language media outlets, China Daily and the People's Daily, have warned that US-based technology organisations, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, can become "cybersecurity threats".

The US tech companies named by the media outlets also include, Yahoo, Cisco, and Facebook — all of which were required by the US National Security Agency to hand over users' information — according to China Daily source, Wan Tao, founder of China's Intelligence Defense Friends Laboratory.

The report on the news outlets' sites said that the warning comes a week after China announced it would put in place a security review on imported technology equipment.

According to the report, Ning Jiajun, a senior researcher at the Advisory Committee for State Informatisation, said that, "previously, the US asked companies to install wiretapping software on their technological products, but if users found and shut down related functions, its 'plan' would fail".

The media outlets' claims come only a week after rumours emerged that the Chinese government was urging the country's banks to remove IBM high-end servers and replace them with locally manufactured equipment, in what could be considered as a clear escalation of frosty relationships following a spate of US-China hacking accusations.

Last month, China indicated it would vet technology companies operating in the country in order to identify potential national security breaches, after the US charged five members of a Chinese military unit for allegedly hacking into US companies for trade secrets.

In fact, last week, Chinese server company, Inspur, revealed it was ready to "comprehensively" take over IBM's server business in the country, with some 80 former IBM employees already having joined Inspur, according to the company.

The Chinese has been eyeing the US and its technology companies with increasing suspicion since US whistleblower, Edward Snowdon, leaked documents revealing the breadth of the NSA's highly classified PRISM data collection program.

According to the China Daily article, a report by China's Internet Media Research Center indicated that the NSA had also taken the iOS and Android smartphone operating systems as a "gold mine" of data.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government's official news agency, Xinhua, has reported that China and the United Nations will hold an international symposium on information and network security in Beijing later this week.

According to the report, it will be the first international conference held by China and the UN on network issues and is a move by the country's government to promote international cybersecurity.

Topics: Security

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Leon covers enterprise technology and start-ups from ZDNet's Sydney newsroom.

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