back to article China's tech giants are a security threat to the UK, says Brit spy bigwig

The world must "understand the opportunities and threats from China's technological offer", GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming said today as he observed that there are "no clear norms or behaviours" for state-on-state cyber-squabbling. Speaking at an International Institute for Strategic Studies event in Singapore, Fleming called …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    Royal Navy Task Force

    To the South China Sea.

    How many oarsmen will that have?

    Or will it be an un escorted aircraft carrier with somebody else's aircraft?

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Royal Navy Task Force

      I wonder if my old Sea Scout group would be able to help out with a dinghy or two?

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Royal Navy Task Force

      Have a heart -- it took a lot of effort to build that one ship. Heaven only knows where the sourced the components from since the shipbuilding industry in the UK has been run down to the point where its effectively non-existent. Its either going to be "only about 20% home made" or alternatively "home-made in the North Korean sense". Just marvel that it floats.

      >with somebody else's aircraft?

      They could just be decoys like the models used in WW2. Personally, I'd like to see an array of Swordfish on the deck, somehow it seems a fitting complement to the 'send in a gunboat' mindset the Gareth fellow seems to possess.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Royal Navy Task Force

        I wonder if we'd get better value contracting a Chinese shipyard to build the next one?

    3. smudge Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Royal Navy Task Force

      That was the Defence Secretary's Gavin "Private Pike" Wossname's little fantasy last week, wasn't it? Unfortunately he blurted it out in public, and that led to the Chinese cancelling the trade talks they were going to have with the Chancellor, Philip Hammond. Who uncharacteristically made some sarky public comments about Private Pike, and pointed out that decisions about things like deployments of aircraft carriers are normally made by the National Security Council, and not by adolescents fantasising about force projection.

      I think that reporting it as a UK plan is stretching the truth a bit :)

      Helicopter because I'm sure we must have one, somewhere...

  2. martinusher Silver badge

    You realize that "Made in America" doesn't actually mean what it says?

    The one thing we can be fairly certain of about Hwahei's kit is where it was designed and manufactured. Its not that the company necessarily wants to design and make all its products in China, its just its rather difficult to outsource development and production from somewhere that's already a prime outsourcing destination. Assuming I want to buy kit that's made in America (or the UK, for that matter) where's the guarantee that it was designed and built in those countries? There's an excellent chance that no matter where the company was headquartered the design, coding, production and testing and validation will have been done at various locations, many of them offshore. The process isn't that much different from building any other complex product -- cars, for example.

    Until our security experts, government ministers or any of their ilk understands exactly how the supply chain works I'm going to continue to regard their pronouncements as something between meaning blather and total BS.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: You realize that "Made in America" doesn't actually mean what it says?

      blather and total BS

      You're too kind. It's thinly disguised economic warfare. I've got news for GCHQ: you haven't won a war since you left Bletchley Park, and you're not going to win this one. Making Huawei your enemy is not a good move. You might end up regretting it even more than Brexit.

      1. ds6 Bronze badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: You realize that "Made in America" doesn't actually mean what it says?

        Not to mention, despite any laws or implied morals that may speak otherwise, every major country is and has been spying on eachother for decades. For the realm of smartmobes for example, no matter which brand or model you have, it's got so many proprietary blobs shoved in its rhetorical sphincter that it would be more likely to have it not spy on you, or at least to have it not have such a capability.

        Basebands, anyone?

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: You realize that "Made in America" doesn't actually mean what it says?

          But, but...

          Gentlemen don't read each other's mail.

          -- Henry L. Stimson, US Secretary of State

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Indeed, gentlemen don't.

            Unfortunately, there are no gentlemen in government.

            1. ds6 Bronze badge
              Alien

              You've seen the lizardmen too?! Let's compare notes.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: You realize that "Made in America" doesn't actually mean what it says?

      Yes, but Huawei's kit doesn't go anywhere near the USA mainland, so it is hard for the NSA to put their spyware on the kit, before it is delivered to their allies.

      It's just sour grapes.

  3. K Silver badge

    "the UK and its allies will keep calling this out"

    That's great.. just 1 problem!

    Mr Fleming seems to forget, the more frequent you shout, the more people grow acclimatised to it, then it either falls of deaf ears, or it becomes the new "norm".

    Instead, give a huge F.U. to the people doing it, maybe use some of these secret "cyber" agents PFY's we hear that GCHQ and NSA have been recruiting for the past decade, lets see some of that investment in action by, i don't know, maybe emptying the culprits bank account, posting some photoshopped porn to their wives etc, or even posting a trove of their secret on Wikileaks!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irony....or Hypocrisy?

    Jeremy Fleming: "...Fleming also directly challenged China, Iran, Russia and North Korea over online hacking attacks..."

    No possibility here of irony....or even hypocrisy:

    - https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/21/british-spies-hacked-into-belgacom-on-ministers-orders-claims-report

    Ah....but of course anything GCHQ does is "good" by definition.....the problem is those other "bad guys". Got to love Jeremy saying this with a straight face!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backdoors

    Didn't the government of China once request the source code for Windows to check for backdoors? Did MS relent?

    Regardless, it’s possible to plant intentional software bugs for later exploits.

  6. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Suppliers

    So who DO they buy kit from ?

    Given that the US kit (made in china anyway, as someone pointed out) is also known to be bugged and we don't have any British manufacturers.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Suppliers

      Once upon a time, many many years ago, we used to make the kit ourselves - but then corporations figured out that they could make more money by moving production elsewhere - the UK used to have a solid electronics industry but it's just evaporated over the last 50 years. We've lost the ability to make the kit and there's no serious interest in building the infrastructure (and education system) to support UK production any longer - all the chums running the country see that it's more profitable to close down UK based companies and move the design, development, and production overseas.

      This has been going on for a long time.

    2. EnviableOne Bronze badge

      Re: Suppliers

      If your talking mobile infrastructure well Huawei are the market leaders(28%), you dont want the Erricson(27%) kit (See O2 outage) the other major player is Nokia(23%) (the bit they didnt sell to Microsoft.)

      so looks like were off to see the scandinavians again

      ZTE (more worried about them) have a slice(13%), and Samsung have a scrape of the icing(3%)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Norms?

    there are "no clear norms or behaviours" for state-on-state cyber-squabbling.

    In other words, Mr Flemming and his minions are being outplayed by the PRC. But let's face it, this sort of cyber-squabbling is a huge improvement over shooting at each other.

    1. sprograms

      Re: Norms?

      Once you go broke, they don't even have to shoot. They just wave you toward the Camps and tell you you'll get food once you enter.

      And before you go broke? They just offer the bosses cheap benefits-free no-unions labor, and tell them they'll get more money each year if they avail themselves of that labor. The labor outsourcing builds local supply hubs around it. Then the bosses say they'd move back (or elsewhere), but that now it's the only place with such a rich diverse supply chain....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Atta boy, you'll soon have earned that non-exec board seat that Nokia or Ericsson or Qualcomm are lining up for you. :D

  9. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Nick Read of Vodafone

    Good to hear there's pushback from someone in the industry. Mr Read might have a lot more clout than the Reg peanut gallery!

  10. SNAFUology
    Pirate

    peek into them and see

    Wow my monitors were destroyed by a Linux NV as some dudes could not get NVIDIA to puke up their code and details.

    Thanks Linux's.

    So why then cannot Gov's (in camera [secretly] of course) insist Huawei puke up circuit plans, diags and firmware for their kit.

    Govs could randomly rip a few apart and check for disparity and deformity etc.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: peek into them and see

      You do not want to ask Huawei to send you items for inspection - that will obviously turn up nothing since, if Huawei was indeed guilty of the accusations, it would hardly be stupid enough to send actual evidence.

      You need to stop a container at the border and confiscate some stuff for inspection. That is the only way you have a chance to find evidence - if there is any actual evidence to be found.

    2. EnviableOne Bronze badge

      Re: peek into them and see

      what like the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) that inspects all equipment intended for use in the UK.

  11. paulll Bronze badge

    "The "digital homeland" analogy is an apparently clear sign that Fleming views the global telecommunications network as something that can or should have geographic borders."

    Is it? Or is he referring to the nation's IP-capable infrastructure that is the topic of the whole discussion in the first place?

  12. Spanners Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    One Word

    Stuxnet

    That one word illustrates a good reason to mistrust any pronouncement from the USA about IT security...

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