FACE­BOOK AND LEN­OVO

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

So­cial me­dia gi­ant Face­book is un­der fire for shar­ing data with four Chi­nese elec­tron­ics com­pa­nies that crit­ics say pose se­cu­rity and pri­vacy risks for Amer­i­cans’ data.

The most wor­ri­some data-shar­ing took place be­tween Face­book and Huawei Tech­nolo­gies, the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant that U.S. of­fi­cials have linked to both the Chi­nese mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence ser­vices.

Face­book also shared data with Len­ovo, a Chi­nese com­puter com­pany that was the sub­ject of an in­tel­li­gence warn­ing from the Pen­tagon’s Joint Staff two years ago. In Oc­to­ber 2016, the Joint Staff is­sued a clas­si­fied re­port that warned against us­ing any equip­ment made by Len­ovo over con­cerns about cy­ber­spy­ing.

The J-2 in­tel­li­gence direc­torate stated that Len­ovo com­put­ers and hand­held de­vices could be used by Chi­nese in­tel­li­gence to in­tro­duce com­pro­mised hard­ware into the De­fense Depart­ment sup­ply chain, ac­cord­ing to U.S. of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the re­port. The Sept. 28, 2016, re­port also stated that Len­ovo was at­tempt­ing to pur­chase en­tire U.S. in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies as a means of gain­ing in­di­rect ac­cess to clas­si­fied Pen­tagon and mil­i­tary in­for­ma­tion net­works.

The J-2 said us­ing Len­ovo prod­ucts could as­sist Chi­nese in­tel­li­gence cy­beres­pi­onage against both clas­si­fied and un­clas­si­fied but sen­si­tive mil­i­tary net­works. Len­ovo equip­ment in the past has been de­tected by U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies en­gaged in “bea­con­ing” — covert com­mu­ni­ca­tion with re­mote users as part of a cy­ber­spy­ing op­er­a­tion.

The Army’s Cy­ber Direc­torate in 2007 de­tected a Len­ovo-brand desk­top com­puter en­gaged in bea­con­ing ac­tiv­ity that a con­gres­sional China com­mis­sion re­port said was a “self-ini­ti­at­ing at­tempt to es­tab­lish a con­nec­tion to a sus­pi­cious for­eign en­tity.”

“There is no way that that com­pany or any Chi­nese com­pany should be do­ing busi­ness in the United States af­ter all the re­cent hack­ing in­ci­dents,” one de­fense of­fi­cial said of Len­ovo.

The Chi­nese Academy of Sciences, a gov­ern­ment re­search in­sti­tute, owns about 27 per­cent of Len­ovo Group Ltd., and U.S. in­tel­li­gence has re­ported that one Chi­nese Academy of Sciences space im­agery ex­pert re­cently as­sumed a se­nior post in the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Strate­gic Sup­port Force, a new mil­i­tary ser­vice in charge of cy­ber, space and elec­tronic war­fare op­er­a­tions.

Rep. Bob Good­latte, Vir­ginia Re­pub­li­can, has voiced se­cu­rity con­cerns about Len­ovo com­put­ers re­lated to the con­tro­ver­sial FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion into for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton’s private email server. Mr. Good­latte wrote then-FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey in 2016 that Heather Sa­muel­son, for­mer White House li­ai­son to the State Depart­ment, used two Len­ovo lap­tops to re­view thou­sands of clas­si­fied emails found on Mrs. Clin­ton’s server.

“Len­ovo com­put­ers, and specif­i­cally the mod­els used by Heather Sa­muel­son for re­view­ing clas­si­fied emails, have been shown by the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity to con­tain soft­ware, dat­ing back to 2010, that per­mits re­mote hack­ing at­tacks,” Mr. Good­latte said.

In April 2016, the Air Force Cy­ber Com­mand warned in an email no­tice that it was ban­ning Len­ovo prod­ucts over cy­ber­se­cu­rity risks.

The no­tice said that Len­ovo prod­ucts “are be­ing re­moved from the Approved Prod­ucts List and should not be pur­chased for DoD use,” while “Len­ovo prod­ucts cur­rently in use will be re­moved from the net­work.”

Len­ovo pur­chased IBM’s lap­top com­puter busi­ness in 2005, prompt­ing se­cu­rity con­cerns at the time.

In 2014, the Navy was forced to re­place IBM servers in all Aegis bat­tle-man­age­ment-equipped war­ships af­ter Len­ovo pur­chased IBM’s BladeCen­ter line of servers. The Navy was con­cerned that China could hack its most ad­vanced war­ships through the servers in wartime.

The Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity also warned that Len­ovo com­put­ers built since 2014 come loaded with ad­ware called Su­per­fish that could al­low hack­ers to thwart en­crypted se­cu­rity con­trols.

Len­ovo bought Mo­torola Mo­bil­ity, the cell­phone divi­sion of Mo­torola, in 2014 and has tried to buy Black­Berry, the Cana­dian hand­held smart­phone com­pany. The in­tel­li­gence al­liance known as Five Eyes, made up of spy ser­vices from the United States, Bri­tain, Aus­tralia, Canada and New Zealand, banned the use of Len­ovo prod­ucts sev­eral years ago over cy­beres­pi­onage fears.

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