Amid the blizzard of information in the Snowden affair, the factoid that caught this blog’s attention was the hacking into the Hong Kong Internet Exchange (HKIX).
According to Snowden, the NSA listened into the HKIX, the city’s prime internet exchange, through the internet backbone.
We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one," he said.
He named one target as the Chinese University of Hong Kong, home to a handful of advanced internet research facilities such as the Hong Kong Internet Exchange, which "essentially connects all of the city's internet access providers to a single infrastructure," the [SCMP] reported.
We don’t know if Snowden is telling the truth, or even if he knows what he is talking about. And while we should probably take most denials on this topic with a large grain of salt, let’s just note that the CUHK said it had not “detected any form of hacking to the network, which has been running normally.”
Maybe, just maybe, “running normally” actually means with a hidden security backdoor already built-in by its router vendor, Cisco. I stress this is pure speculation; there is no evidence Cisco or anyone else provided a key.
But it is striking that that is exactly the kind of behaviour that the US fears that the Chinese will execute on American networks through Huawei.
I can’t help but wonder: when the Pentagon, Congress and the CIA label Huawei a security threat, are we looking at the world’s biggest case of projection?