A halt has been placed on Lenovo from supplying kit for the high level secret networks of western intelligence agencies post revelations of security concerns (emerged) when backdoor vulnerabilities were discovered as per recent new reports.
Unidentified sources of intelligence and defence in both the UK and Australia confirmed to the AFR (Australian Financial review) that a proper written ban was given to the firm in the mid 2000’s. [The timeframe offered matches Lenovo’s 2005 aquisition of IBM’s PC business.]
Backdoor Vulnerabilities in both firmware and hardware were found during tests which can easily allow attackers to remotely access devices w/o the owners knowledge.
AFR stated “The ban applies to various agencies in the Five Eyes alliance (UK, US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) where such rules are normally implemented across the board given the interconnected nature of some of their classified networks”
The following are just some who are participants in the lenovo ban,
GCHQ, MI5, MI6, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, and the NSA etc. But it is only applicable to highly restricted networks & the chinese firm remains an important government IT provider to other government agencies in these countries. Private business will be affected as the prior year report by the US Congressional report on Huawei and ZTE, branded these also chinese firms as a national security risk.
It’s still a bit cloudy whether the governent results from the testing of the Lenovo kit were ever shared with the private sector since currently Lenovo is still leading in the PC market. Though the company appears to be a global publicly traded business with HQ in N.Carolina and Beijing, its main share holder is a chinese company, Legend Holdings. There is also a rumor and a suspicion in the West that non-state owned businesses are a safe haven for Communist party committees by having close relations with Beijing.
The PR for Levono (hongkong -based) couldn’t be reached for comments though it sent a statement to AFR that it was unaware of the Ban. It added
“[Our] products have been found time and time again to be reliable and secure by our enterprise and public sector customers and we always welcome their engagement to ensure we are meeting their security needs.”
The news comes a week after former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden argued in an interview with the AFR that Huawei represents an “unambiguous national security threat to the US and Australia”.