Displaying items by tag: China

Security researcher Victor Gevers has uncovered a database of 1.8 million women in China who have their names, addresses, marital status, education levels, and phone numbers listed however the most troubling part of this database is the fact that women of a certain age group were also categorized as “breed ready”.

Gevers has said that anyone with an IP address has access to this database. This comes after his discovery of the Chinese database that leaked 300 million private messages last week.

“We don’t know who is behind this database and what the intention was… that is the part that worries us the most,” said Gevers. Most of the women in the database were located in Beijing.

Gevers reported the database on Twitter and had it closed down by 4am ET on Monday. 

Some of the women are linked to their Facebook profiles and as Facebook is banned in China, they must have accessed it through the use of a VPN.

“In China, they have a shortage of women. So an organization started to build a database to start registering over 1.8 million women with all kinds of details like phone numbers, addresses, education, location, ID number, marital status, and a “BreedReady” status?” he tweeted.

Also, around 90 per cent of the women on that list were listed as single and were between the ages of 15 and 95. The “BreedReady” women were categorized,  the youngest status was given to 18 year olds and the oldest with the status was 39.

The purpose of this database still remains uncertain however, many internet users said that it may have been the Chinese government’s effort to track the fertility of Chinese women as China’s birth rate has hit an all-time low.

China’s National Statistics Bureau found that only 15 million children were born in 2018 which was 2 million less than the previous year.

Published in Government

A new report from analyst group Dell’Oro showed that Huawei holds 29 per cent of the Telecom equipment market which puts it in a position ahead both Nokia and Samsung. The Chinese vendor’s market share has increased by 8% since 2013.

In 2018, Huawei dominated the race, leading Nokia, Ericsson, ZTE, Samsung and Ciena as the primary equipment manufacturer. Dell’Oro found that all these companies combined possessed around 80% of the global market revenue of service provider equipment.

The market grew by a steady 1 per cent in 2018, after three years of decline. This growth is due to an increased demand in broadband access, optical transport, microwave and other mobile technologies. However, Huawei is the only vendor in the market that is experiencing consistent growth. Indeed, ZTE declined by a great deal and other primary vendors have remained in the same position.

Huawei is also at the top of the market in terms of wireless packet core (WPC).

Senior analyst at Dell’Oro Group Dave Bolan said: “The modest growth of the WPC market in 4Q 218 was due to the 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC) technologies that service providers are using for 4G networks, but also for EPC use in upcoming 5G network deployments.” He added: “For 2018 WPC market shares, Huawei was the number one vendor based on revenues: however, Ericsson retained its first-place ranking for the EPC market that was the largest sub-segment of the wireless packet core market.”

Last week, the telecoms industry gathered in Barcelona for MWC where an abundance of discussions were around 5G. EE, Qualcomm, and OnePlus launched ‘5G Apps of Tomorrow’ and the GSMA found that by 2025, 15 per cent of all mobile connections would be powered by 5G.

Published in Telecom Vendors

The profiles and personal messages of 364 million users of Chinese social media sites were leaked online, exposing private records such as photos and identity card numbers which were being gathered by the Chinese government through a surveillance program.

Cybersecurity researcher for the NGO GDI Foundation, Victor Gevers, revealed in a series of tweets that the Chinese government was using a social media surveillance program which was “retrieving messages per province from 6 social platforms and extracts named, ID numbers, ID photos, GPS locations, network information, and all the conversations an file transfers get imported into a large online database.”

He continued “Around 364 million online profiles and their chats & file transfers get processed daily. Then these accounts get linked to a real ID/person. The date is then distributed over police stations per city/province to separate operators’ databases with the same surveillance network name.”

Gevers went on to say that the program used to retrieve all the private and sensitive information looked “like a jerry-rigged PRISM clone of the NSA.” NSA was the US government’s surveillance system that Edward Snowden revealed back in 2013.

In a direct message on Twitter, Gevers voiced some of his concerns regarding the situation.

“These surveillance systems are dangerous when they are open and fully accessible to anyone, which increases the risk of remote data manipulation. We have seen databases get ‘ransomed’ in the past.”

A great deal of the leaked data included information about cybercafés, which Gevers pointed out in a screenshot and said that those cafes may have been used as a potential tool to gather data on users.

QQ and WeChat were among the six Chinese messaging services which are both operated by Tencent.

In the past, WeChat denied their monitoring of user chat logs for government surveillance, however according to the Chinese legal system, all internet companies operating in China are expected to collect and store user data locally in case of an official inspection.

Security researcher Jane Manchun Wong said: “If sensitive information was exchanged in some of those conversations, it could have been sold to black markets, the same way how stolen credit card info from compromised databases work.”

She continued, “Except this one, it’s effortless to hackers. They could essentially just walk in and everything seems to be in plain text and accessible without any login information.”

The database was allegedly secured after Gevers exposed the issue.

There have been a few major leaks in China over the past few years.

Just last month Gevers reported a case regarding a Chinese tech company, SenseNets, which stored the data of 2.6 million people in the region of Xinjiang which is of Muslim majority and is under heavy police surveillance.  The data included the ID numbers and addresses of the residents.

Published in Government

Trump reconsiders 5G nationalization plan

Written on Thursday, 07 March 2019 08:04

US president Donald Trump revisited a previous plan to nationalize 5G in the US after it had been previously scrapped in 2018 due to industry backlash.

President Donald Trump’s 2020  re-election campaign backtracked on the prospect of 5G wireless technology after it seemed to contradict the White House’s administration policy.

Trump’s admin began to discuss this prospect in January 2018 in an attempt to one-up their main competitor, China.

Politico reported that this plan would ensure the government have full control over the 5G spectrum to create a wholesale market where operators could buy capacity.

“A 5G wholesale market would drive down costs and provide access to millions of Americans who are currently underseved,” said Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign to Politico on Friday. She added “this is in line with President Trump’s agenda to benefit all Americans, regardless of geography.”

The resurgence of the campaign put it in an unfavorable position with White House administration officials who have been adamant on dropping the original plan of a free market approach after the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC), Ajit Pai’s,  criticism against the matter.

5G technology is not yet readily available for the public.

Axios reported that Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, believes that promoting a nationalized system could potentially general more votes from citizens in rural areas who want faster internet.

According to Business Insider, 5G is “next generation, super-fast wireless technology [which] has become a real, tangible thing that people can actually use.. Right now, only a tiny number of eople across a very limited spread of locations have access to 5G. For most of us, 5G is still a mystery, full of tantalizing promise but few details.”

Some members of the Trump administration such as Larry Kuldow, are wary of the nationalization of 5G as it would mean that private companies like Verizon and AT&T would be able to build it out.

Last month, trump expressed his concerns about 5G and its dominance by telling US operators to “step up their efforts” and criticized them for “lagging behind on something that is so obviously the future.”

As an attempt to reiterate his opposition to the prospect of network nationalization, Pai reposted a tweet from January 2018 which stated “The market, not the government, is best-positioned to drive innovation and investment.”

Similarly, some FCC commissioners such as Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr both expressed their opposition to the idea on social media while others even went as far as comparing it as a “China-like nationalization” of 5G networks.

In early February, Trump tweeted:

“I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”

“I want the United States to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies.

“We must always be the leader in everything we do, especially when it comes to the very exciting world of technology!”

Published in Government

The US-led campaign against Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei is now facing resistance from a number of major European operators.

Washington has been engaged in a sustained offensive attack on China’s major telecommunication vendors Huawei and ZTE over the last number of years.

However, that has heightened in recent months, with the United States labelling Huawei and ZTE as a severe threat to national security. US President Donald Trump is expected to issue an executive order later this week which would prohibit both Chinese vendors from being involved in wireless networks in the US.

In addition to this, lobbyists on behalf of the US convinced its allies Australia and New Zealand to prevent either company from participating in the rollout of their respective 5G networks. The US is now pressuring Europe to follow suit.  Earlier this week, comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added further fuel to the ongoing saga when he said that countries that use Huawei technology could hurt their relationship with the United States.

However, that has been met with resistance from major European operators who have discovered that they will have to fork out more to replace equipment from Huawei and ZTE, and that a blanket ban on both companies would significantly impact its ability to launch 5G services in the next twelve months, as Huawei is the global leader on 5G equipment.

A number of prominent executives from Europe’s top operators told The Wall Street Journal that Huawei hardware was much better than the rest on offer and often cost less; not using it could well mean that Europe would lag Asia and countries in other regions that use gear from Huawei for their 5G rollouts.

In addition to this, Nick Read, chief executive of Vodafone Group, was quoted as saying in January that a total ban on the carrier's use of Huawei equipment “would have significant financial cost, would have significant customer disruption and would delay 5G rollout in several countries”. The UK's four major wireless operators — Vodafone, BT Group, Telefonica and CK Hutchison Holdings' Three — were all against a ban.

But it is not only big carriers who prefer Huawei equipment, with Jersey Telecom, a publicly-owned company operating in the Isle of Jersey, also expressing a preference for Chinese equipment.

The company sought bids from both Chinese and Western companies in 2014 for its wireless network and while Huawei's bid 20% below the lowest Western offer, ZTE was 40% cheaper. Jersey Telecom chief executive Graeme Millar went with ZTE, and commented: "I have a genuinely high-class, low-cost supplier with ZTE, who haven’t let me down yet.”

The US stands accused of using Huawei and ZTE as political pawns in the ongoing trade war standoff between Washington and Beijing.

Published in Telecom Operators

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has vowed to work closely with Polish authorities in order to ensure it plays a key role in the buildout of its 5G networks.

Reports are claiming that Huawei executives will meet with officials from the Polish government in a bid to iron out any major security concerns that the country may have following the ongoing allegations that the Chinese vendor is a risk to national security.

Huawei also became embroiled in controversy last month, when one of its executives was arrested on suspicion of espionage.

Huawei’s senior standards manager in Europe, Georg Mayer, insisted that there has been no slowdown of sales of end-user equipment in Poland despite the negative press.

However, he acknowledged that if the negative press and scaremongering regarding Huawei’s security continues then it will eventually negatively impact business.

Huawei has reportedly offered to build a cybersecurity centre in Poland in another effort to show its commitment to addressing the security issues that have come to the fore in recent months.

In addition to this, Huawei’s head fiure in Poland, Tonny Bao, said the company was ready to establish a cyber security focused operation in the country “if authorities accept this as a trusted solution”.

The company has set up information security labs in Germany and the UK, designed to assure authorities its equipment is safe.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Taiwanese electronic colossus Foxconn has now admitted that it is currently reassessing its plans to invest in a new $10bn factory in Wisconsin.

When first announced it was hailed as a significant win for US President Donald Trump who had promised rust-belt states that he would breathe new life into the manufacturing sector and create millions of jobs.

However, that deal now may be dead in the water due to the ongoing dispute between Beijing and Washington that is becoming increasingly toxic. 

Foxconn manufactures devices and components for a host of the world’s leading technology leaders including Apple, and had previously unveiled its plans to build the $10 billion plant to make LCD flat screen televisions which would also in turn create around 13,000 new jobs.

The investment was vetoed by $4bn in controversial tax concessions which were embraced by Trump who said the deal was another illustration of his campaign promise which was to put America ‘first’ again. Trump has also tried to strong arm other tech giants like Apple offering them tax breaks if they move manufacturing back to the United States.

Trump appeared with Foxconn CEO Terry Gou at a groundbreaking ceremony proclaiming and stated that, "This is just the beginning. This is one of the largest plants in the world."

However, the global economic climate roiled by Trump's trade war with China where Foxconn has most of its assembly lines -- has led officials at the Taiwanese company to look again at the plans.

"The global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed. As our plans are driven by those of our customers, this has necessitated the adjustment of plans for all projects, including Wisconsin," Foxconn said in a statement Thursday.

However, Foxconn has moved swiftly to deny it’s pulling out of the proposed investment and released an official statement saying it is remained committed to building its science park in Wisconsin and wants to help create 13,000 jobs". 

Woo told Bloomberg, "We’re not scrapping our plans at all. However, given the global economic conditions and the trade tensions between China and the US, its’ impossible to say that we can always stay committed to our original plan without any change."

Published in Government

The US Department of Justice has confirmed that it will continue to seek the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou who was arrested in Vancouver in December. The DOJ are claiming that she violated trade sanctions with Iran and want her to appear on trial in the United States.

The arrest of the prominent Huawei CFO who is the daughter of the company’s founder kicked off a diplomatic row between China and Canada, which is still ongoing. China detained a number of Canadian diplomats in the immediate aftermath of the arrest of Wanzhou in Vancouver, which was seen as retaliation.

However, the DOJ are continuing their efforts in terms of extraditing the Huawei CFO back to US for questioning, despite reports to the contrary that claimed they were willing to drop the extradition order.

"We will continue to pursue the extradition of defendant Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and will meet all deadlines set by the US/Canada Extradition Treaty," said Justice Department spokesperson Marc Raimondi.

Wanzhou was freed on bail of Can$10 million (US$7.5 million) bail and is awaiting a hearing on her extradition. According to the agreement between the two countries, the United States has 60 days after an arrest made at its request in Canada to formalize an extradition request. 

Once a request has been submitted, the Canadian justice ministry then has 30 days to proceed with official extradition proceedings, though the process can take months or years.

Published in Telecom Vendors

US tech giant announces recruitment cutback

Written on Tuesday, 22 January 2019 06:26

US technology giant Apple has announced that it will impose a recruitment cutback - which has been primarily forced due to weak sales on the company’s iPhone devices in the lucrative Chinese market.

Bloomberg has reported that Apple CEO, Tim Cook, announced the recruitment cutbacks just a day after he sent a letter to Apple investors that warned the company was bracing itself for a year-on-year decline in revenue for its fiscal Q1, which would shave $5bn from its guidance. 

In a series of meetings that were held following the disclosure, it was reported that Cook informed some staff that a number of divisions would reduce hiring, but stated that he didn’t think a complete freeze in recruitment would be an appropriate solution to take.

In addition to this, it has been further disclosed that the CEO is also yet to determine which divisions will face hiring cutbacks. However, it is believed that divisions such as Apple’s AI team will not be affected due to the leverage of investment made by the US tech company into the emerging technology.

The move will also not affect plans to open a state-of-the-art new office in Austin, Texas or its expansion plans in Los Angeles, where the company is fleshing out its original video content ambitions.

Bloomberg also pointed out that Apple has hired new staff at a significant rate over the past decade. The company recruited 9,000 workers in its most recent fiscal year, taking the total up to 132,000, while adding 7,000 a year earlier.

Published in Devices

Germany and Canada both considering banning Huawei from 5G

Written on Tuesday, 22 January 2019 06:07

The Canadian and German government are reportedly both seriously considering excluding Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei from its 5G networks due to security concerns.

Published in Telecom Vendors
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