Cheeky Huawei has advised the President of the United States to use one of its own Chinese-designed phones to avoid eavesdropping.
The New York Times reported this week that alongside his government-issued secure line, Donald Trump frequently made calls to associates using a regular old insecure consumer network and his personal iPhone.
Trump angrily denied [does he ever deny something in any other way? – ed.] the claim.
The New York Times has a new Fake Story that now the Russians and Chinese (glad they finally added China) are listening to all of my calls on cellphones. Except that I rarely use a cellphone, & when I do it’s government authorized. I like Hard Lines. Just more made up Fake News!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson agreed, calling it "Fake News". She added that he had good alternatives.
"If they are really very worried about Apple phones being bugged, then they can change to using Huawei," Reuters quoted Hua Chunying as saying. Either that, or go off-grid.
Former security chiefs have cautioned government buyers against using Chinese-designed technology, something that chimes in with the president's protectionist agenda. Specific examples of compromised hardware from China are thin on the ground, however – and may be getting thinner.
In 2013, Der Spiegel reported that an NSA database had contained German chancellor Angela Merkel's personal phone number since 2002, and a signals intelligence unit, the Special Collection Service, was hosted within the US diplomatic mission in Berlin.
"NSAgate" prompted a "livid" call from the chancellor to then-US pres Barack Obama asking for an explanation. The US responded that it wasn't currently bugging Merkel, and didn't have any plans to.
Not the most reassuring reassurance. For state duties, Merkel had been using a Nokia 6260 secured by Secusmart, initially providing encryption for voice calls, then texts too. For political duties, she used an unsecured device provided for her by the CDU party.
An inquiry was dropped for lack of evidence. ®