NSA hacked Huawei: Snowden papers
News breaks as US First Lady tells Chinese students of importance of information flow
Chinese manufacturer Huawei was the victim of a cyber attack in which sensitive data was gathered from its Shenzhen-based servers by the US National Security Agency, the New York Times reported at the weekend.
News of the operation, codenamed “Shotgiant”, was based on the documents leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden last summer.
The NYT report coincided with US First Lady Michelle Obama’s address to students at China’s Peking University, where she impressed upon her audience the importance of free access to information on the Internet.
"It is so important for information and ideas to flow freely over the Internet and through the media,” Mrs. Obama said.
US lawmakers have previously expressed concerns over US companies doing business with Chinese technology firms, which are perceived as potential security threats. Officials have also made moves to block Huawei and other China-based enterprises from making business deals in the US.
According to a Huawei spokesperson, the company was unaware it was a target of the NSA.
"The irony is that exactly what they are doing to us is what they have always charged that the Chinese are doing through us," the Times quoted William Plummer, a senior Huawei executive based in the US as saying.
"If such espionage has been truly conducted then it is known that the company is independent and has no unusual ties to any government, and that knowledge should be relayed publicly to put an end to an era of mis- and disinformation."