Security Experts:

Los Alamos Pulls Networking Gear Because it Was Created in China

Los Alamos National Lab, one of two labs in the nation responsible for nuclear research, has replaced networking equipment out of concerns over security. The concerns stem from the fact that the networking switches were created by China-based HC3 Technologies.

HC3 Technologies, a joint venture between Huawei Technologies and 3Com, developed two switches that were in place on the Los Alamos network, but have since been pulled according to a November 5 internal memo obtained by Reuters, due to security concerns.

These concerns are likely the same ones expressed by the House Armed Services Committee, which urged that U.S. agencies (including the Department of Energy, which oversees Los Alamos) avoid using technologies developed by Huawei or ZTE Corp over fear that they may have backdoors that expose critical infrastructure.

Last October, a report by the House Intelligence Committee said the two Chinese firms "cannot be trusted” to be free of influence from the PLA, and by proxy the CPC (Communist Party of China) as a whole. There has been tremendous concern by Washington that Huawei’s ties to China’s government and military make them an automatic national security risk, fears that Huawei says translate into China-bashing.

After the October report was released, William Plummer, a US spokesman for Huawei said during an open conference call with reporters that it was "utterly lacking in substance."

"Huawei unequivocally denies the allegations in the report. [It] utterly ignores these facts and dismisses 10 months of open information sharing,” he said, adding that it was“...little more than an exercise in China-bashing and misguided protectionism.”

In response to Tuesday’s disclosure on the changes made at Los Alamos, Plummer told Reuters that the move was reckless.

“There has never been a shred of substantive proof that Huawei gear is any less secure than that of our competitors, all of which rely on common global standards, supply chains, coding and manufacturing. Blackballing legitimate multinationals based on country of origin is reckless, both in terms of fostering a dangerously false sense of cyber-security and in threatening the free and fair global trading system that the U.S. has championed for the last 60-plus years.”

Related: China Warns of 'Prejudice' in US Telecom Report

Related: Huawei Calls US Congress Report 'China-bashing'

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.