Panel says purchase of Chinese tech could leave US vulnerable to security breach

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A congressional advisory panel in the US has said the purchase of internet-linked tech manufactured in China leaves the US vulnerable to security breaches.

In its annual report last week, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said the lack of security could leave critical infrastructure at risk.

The review went on to warn of dangers to the US government and private sector from a reliance on global supply chains linked to China.

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This warning explicitly links to the importation of DJI drones, purchase of which was suspended for a short time earlier this year until a cybersecurity risk assessment was established.

In 2017, U.S. customs authorities alleged that drones produced by Chinese company DJI likely provided China with access to U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data, an allegation which DJI strongly denied.

According to a report from the Associated Press, China’s push to dominate in the high-tech industry by 2025 already has been a contributing factor in trade tensions between the two nations and has subsequently led to the world’s two largest economies putting billions of dollars in tariffs on each other’s products so far this year.

The report from the panel states: “The scale of Chinese state support for the IoT, the close supply chain integration between the United States and China, and China’s role as an economic and military competitor to the United States creates enormous economic, security, supply chain, and data privacy risks for the United States.”

It continues: “The lax security protections and universal connectivity of IoT devices creates numerous points of vulnerability that hackers or malicious state actors can exploit to hold U.S. critical infrastructure, businesses, and individuals at risk.”

The commission, which does not set policy but can make recommendations to Congress and the U.S. administration, is calling for Congress to push for assessments by U.S. government agencies on their supply chain vulnerabilities and says the U.S. government depends on commercial, off-the-shelf products, many of them made in China, for more than 95 percent of its electronics components and information technology systems.

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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