Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei on Thursday refuted allegations that it hacked BSNL’s network and offered to work closely with customers and Indian government to address any network security issues.
“Huawei India denies such alleged hacking and continues to work closely with customers and government in India to address any network security issue- that may arise in technical and business operations – with full compliance on network security norms, regulations and laws,” Scott Sykes, Vice President, Head of International Media Affairs of Huawei said in an e-mail response to the PTI.
Sykes was responding to the Indian minister of state for communications and IT, Killi Krupa Rani’s written reply to the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the government is investigating an incident of Huawei allegedly hacking BSNL’s network.
“An incident about alleged hacking of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited network by Huawei, a Chinese telecom company, has come to notice,” the minister said. The government has constituted an inter-ministerial team to investigate the matter,” she added.
There were reports of a mobile tower being impacted a few months ago in coastal area of Andhra Pradesh that was attributed to hacking by the company’s engineers. The written reply of the minister did not share any other details of the incident.
BSNL had awarded a major part of its network expansion tender of about 10.15 million lines to another Chinese company, ZTE in 2012.
Huawei was also top contender in this bid but the company declined to supply equipment at the low price quoted by ZTE.
An Indian parliamentary committee in 2012 had recommended that the government test the telecom equipment for security, against the backdrop of Chinese companies becoming biggest suppliers of hardware and software to Indian firms.
The committee had suggested the government consider the United States model of auditing telecom equipment that can have serious security implications.
In 2012, a committee of US lawmakers on intelligence warned of cyber-espionage threats from telecom networks built by Chinese companies and suggested that American companies considering to do business with Huawei and ZTE should look for other vendors.
The charges were strongly denied by both the Chinese companies.