IS THIS the smoking gun that so many have been waiting for?
Huawei appears to be sending data from its new P30 Pro handset via Chinese servers, thus suggesting its relationship with the Chinese government might be a bit closer than we thought, though probably about what some expected.
The report comes from a Taiwanese paper which talks of a handset purchased in Thailand. On testing, it was found that a number of calls were being made, strictly under the bonnet, to servers in mainland China.
ExploitwareLabs collated and published a list of those DNS numbers and they make fairly damning reading. They include sites registered to the China Ministry of Public Security, and the government blowhole the China Internet Information Centre.
There's no reason that the handset would need to access these sites, especially as the customer hadn't registered for any of Huawei's bespoke services like its HiCloud backup service.
So far, the problem hasn't been replicated on other handsets, but if you're a Huawei user that fancies doing a bit of packet sniffing, we'd love to hear from you. We had a go on a Huawei laptop and it got a clean bill of health (though we're not done just yet).
For our part, as much as we love Huawei devices, we do sometimes find ourselves wondering what in, for want of a better phrase, hells name they are thinking over in Shenzhen.
We asked Huawei recently about HiCloud, a service that heavily promotes itself as a way to back up your phone data. We were told all servers from that service are based in Germany for EU users.
We have no reason to doubt that, but then neither did our friends in Thailand.
If it turns out that the data really is going back to China, it would be a surprise, not least of all because where there's a will, it's pretty easy to find out where its DNS requests are coming from and to, so to have such a ‘feature' in its flagship model seems naive at best.
But it's certainly not the first instance of Chinese goods spying - cheap Chinese smartwatches and security cameras have often been shown to have a direct like to Bejing. It's a case of buyer beware. μ
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