back to article ZTE now stands for 'zero tech exports' – US govt slaps 7-year ban on biz

The US government has imposed a seven-year export ban on ZTE for repeated violation of trade laws. The Department of Commerce announced on Monday it is placing a ban that will forbid US companies from doing business with the Chinese phone maker, including supplying it with parts and service contracts. The surprise move came …

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Black Helicopters

Real risk ?

Is there really a risk to users from the products or is the risk that GCHQ has not got a backdoor into ZTE products?

I will only believe warnings from GCHQ when they are backed by facts from non-governmental sources. Like the NSA and the rest of the Five Eyes group, their credibility is near zero.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Real risk ?

<shrugs> Does it matter who has the backdoor? Seems like every "I" agency already owns us users.

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Re: Real risk ?

Having had the pleasure of an ISP-supplied ZTE router, I can believe the warnings.

An earlier firmware version had an exploit on the tr-069 port which the ISP enables so their customer service droid can press a button and reset everything to factory settings to make their lives easier. The answer to any problem is now reset and I'll do it for you in case you don't know how to insert the paperclip in the hole and keep it there for 10 seconds. You had a LAN nicely set up? Own SSID or wifi password? Disabled WPS? Why would you want to do that?

Going online with this version got your router pwned within seconds, the settings were changed so http was enabled on the WAN side and it was now part of a botnet, sort of similar to going online with the original Windows XP.

The fix the ISP pushed out patched the tr-069 exploit, but still left the http port enabled so it was still part of the botnet.

Luckily they're so full of holes that you can run exploit programs to lift the settings out of them and change to another router.

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Re: Real risk ?

"Is there really a risk to users from the products"

Dont they all run Android?

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Pot, kettle

"ZTE made false statements to the US government when they were originally caught and put on the Entity List, made false statements during the reprieve it was given, and made false statements again during its probation," said US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Who do they think they are, banking executives?

From wikipedia--

"... leaked documents known as the Paradise Papers showed that Ross had failed to clearly disclose financial ties to Russian interests in his confirmation hearings."

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Anonymous Coward

The unspecified security holes were found to be so severe that intel chiefs warned telcos they could "not be mitigated effectively or practicably."

But we can't tell you what they were or you'd never believe a word we said...

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Black Helicopters

Obviously...

...no political overtones here at all.

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Anonymous Coward

The usual comments here

The German experience with Chinese IP theft should be educational.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/harmony-and-ambition-china-s-cut-throat-railway-revolution-a-692969.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/product-piracy-goes-high-tech-nabbing-know-how-in-china-a-402464.html

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Does the US actually have..

Anything ZTE wants?

It's not as if they can't source anything they need in Asia nowadays.. Including a HUGE market that will only buy if you *do not deal* with the US...

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How about Gorilla Glass? Corning is here... don't know where all the works are, or how much it matters.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does the US actually have..

What market is there for companies that do not do business with the US? Certain sectors, countries, movement?

Never heard that before.

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Anonymous Coward

Dear ZTE, stop "cutting our grass". Only the US government is allowed to do dodgy arms deals with Iran and North Korea (under the table of course!)

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Anonymous Coward

"...ZTE...cut off....from American manufacturers."

How does this prevent ZTE from obtaining necessary bit and pieces via off-shore middlemen? These bits and pieces are not exactly ITAR; they can be freely bought and sold (to anyone except ZTE).

How does this not encourage off-shore 2nd Sourcing?

Just curious.

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Re: "...ZTE...cut off....from American manufacturers."

I was thinking along the same lines, what's stopping them from setting up a separate company to purchase the goods from the US, and then on-sell them to ZTE.

Isn't that what a US company would do? (in order to keep being able to sell arms to Iran and North Korea)

Capitalism, HO!

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ZPO

Re: "...ZTE...cut off....from American manufacturers."

Selling products through shady middleman to avoid export controls/bans/sanctions will get found out eventually. Then the US side of the transactions gets visited by LWGs (Lawyers With Guns - ie FBI agents - they look so spiffy in their blue windbreakers). Depending on where the equipment is transiting, the other side of the transaction may get visited by men wearing balaclavas and NVGs.

On the US side, the end game is federal criminal charges against individuals. Those instantly pierce the corporate veil and everyone wants to flip and trade up for a deal. On the foreign side, the local government gets some US aid to ensure prosecution and the offenders end up in a prison that is a few rungs down the ladder from hell on earth.

For most tech executives, that doesn't sound like much fun.

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Re: "...ZTE...cut off....from American manufacturers."

"Selling products through shady middleman to avoid export controls/bans/sanctions will get found out eventually."

Indeed, just remember where this all started in the first place - ZTE were the shady middleman supplying American kit to Iran and North Korea.

"On the foreign side, the local government gets some US aid to ensure prosecution and the offenders end up in a prison that is a few rungs down the ladder from hell on earth."

Not so much. The foreign side effectively are the local government (ZTE is publicly traded, but the biggest shareholders are state-run companies) and far from being sent to prison, the offenders are given bonuses.

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Trollface

community.zteusa.com

Has the government tried using the support forums?

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Anonymous Coward

WTO Rules

This is looking much closer to breaking WTO rules...

However, Mr Trump can put such things behind him - soon he will ban imports of EVERYTHING into the US. That will fix the trade imbalance.

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I wonder how this affects me...

I own and use a ZTE z850, and have been using it for a couple of years.

What risks am I actually running?

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Re: I wonder how this affects me...

I expect you're running much the same risks as I am with a Motorola. Or others with the rest of the Usual Suspects.

Except, if you're at risk of being snooped on by spooks, they'll be foreign spooks. With no interest in what you're doing, and a very high hurdle to coming after you in the unlikely event that they do find connections between you and suspected terrorists, child-molestors, or general dissidents.

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Meh

Re: I wonder how this affects me...

"I own and use a ZTE z850, and have been using it for a couple of years.

What risks am I actually running?"

The people who pwn it will be Chinese rather than American.

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Meh

Re: I wonder how this affects me...

Except, if you're at risk of being snooped on by spooks, they'll be foreign spooks. With no interest in what you're doing, and a very high hurdle to coming after you in the unlikely event that they do find connections between you and suspected terrorists, child-molestors, or general dissidents

Not so much that, it is having your router and any computer connected to it used as a surrogate for said spooks hacking activities. Much better to use your IP address rather than their own. It makes it less obvious that it is a foreign state doing the hacking, and means you have to issue the denials about being the source of the hacking from your cell instead of them from their comfortable foreign ministry.

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I've always thought my Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 was looking at me funny, seriously though there is a UpdateZTE app on it that you can't disable (easily) and you can't see it on the installed apps list

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Anonymous Coward

It's not just ZTE

I've been poking around inside Android phones for some time now and ZTE and Huawei are not alone in abusing data.

I'll be doing my part in having Alcatel put under the microscope for their recent actions.

It also depends if you purchased a carrier modified OS as well.

One of the first Androids I messed with was an ancient Samsung S2 from T-Mobile and it had a bunch of "analytic" settings enabled by default sending data back to T-Mobile.

It must be coincidence that I'm seeing this article today after spending most the night unlocking and flashing an old ZTE Desire phone.

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Re: It's not just ZTE

> One of the first Androids I messed with was an ancient Samsung S2 from T-Mobile and it had a bunch of "analytic" settings enabled by default sending data back to T-Mobile.

That's probably the case with all carrier OS'es - read up on CarrierIQ - the info is used, for the most part, to improve the network. How much the info gathered is abused, I don't know...

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Re: It's not just ZTE

The Desire range of phones came from HTC not ZTE

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Anonymous Coward

Android is just a variance on linux. ZTE may well come up with a better OS than google.

That would be nice, I'd dump android in a moment! Google have become far to evil IMHO!

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