Huawei looks to German security researchers for help

The company says Felix Lindner's continued complaints about the security of its products have not been dismissed, and it would like his help.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Felix Lindner
Felix Lindner Elinor Mills/CNET

Huawei, the embattled Chinese telecom equipment company, is reaching out to a security researcher in Germany for a little help.

The company's global security chief, John Suffolk, told Reuters in an interview published today that Huawei has dispatched engineers to Germany to meet with Felix "FX" Lindner and go over the security flaws he has found in a host of its products.

According to Reuters, which spoke with Lindner earlier this month, Huawei products ranging from a cheap home router to major telecom equipment appear to be vulnerable to hacking. Lindner stopped short of saying a backdoor was left open in the devices, but did say that poorly written software in all of the products made it somewhat easy for hackers to take advantage.

Lindner's comments came just months after he sat down with CNET for an interview at hacker conference Defcon. He told CNET that flaws in Huawei products could allow hackers to get access to the systems, log in as administrator, change the admin passwords, and reconfigure systems, allowing for the interception of all traffic running through the routers.

Huawei and fellow China-based telecom company ZTE are trying to expand business in the U.S. and other Western countries. However, so far, the companies have been blocked after U.S. lawmakers expressed fear of them spying on citizens without their knowledge on behalf of the Chinese government.

"Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems," the House Intelligence Committee wrote recently.

Huawei, which has denied claims that it would spy on U.S. citizens, apparently is hoping Lindner's expertise can help the company enhance security across its products.