U.S. Department of Justice and FBI Brought Charges Against Huawei



The U.S. Department of Justice announced that a superseding indictment was returned yesterday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (Huawei) the world’s largest telecommunications manufacturer, and two U.S. subsidiaries with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Brian A. Benzskowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and Christopher A. Wray, Director, FBI, announced the charges.

…As revealed by the government’s independent investigation and review of court filings, the new charges in this case relate to the alleged decades-long efforts by Huawei, and several of its subsidiaries, both in the U.S. and in the People’s Republic of China, to misappropriate intellectual property, including from six U.S. technology companies, in an effort to grow and operate Huawei’s business. The misappropriated intellectual property included trade secret information and copyrighted works, such as source code and user manuals for internet routers, antenna technology and robot testing technology. Huawei, Huawei USA and Futurewei agreed to reinvest the proceeds of this alleged racketeering activity in Huawei’s worldwide business, including in the United States…

According to the Department of Justice, the superseding indictment also adds a charge of conspiracy to steal trade secrets stemming from the China-based company’s alleged long-running practice of using fraud and deception to misappropriate sophisticated technology from U.S. counterparts.

In addition to Huawei, four official and unofficial subsidiaries are also indicted defendants. They include Huawei Device Co. Ltd. (Huawei Device), Huawei Device USA Inc., (Huawei USA), Futurwei Technologies Inc (Futurewei) and Skycom Tech Co. Lt. (Skycom). Defendants also include Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wanzhou Meng (Meng).


Judge Temporarily Blocks Microsoft’s JEDI Contract



JEDI saga continues! A federal judge has ordered a temporary block on the JEDI cloud contract, which Microsoft was selected for (over Amazon) by the Department of Justice. The judge’s action was in response to a suit filed by Amazon.

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud computing contract is intended to modernize the Pentagon’s IT operations. It could be worth as much as $10 billion over a decade. Personally, I don’t think Microsoft or Amazon would be in a dire situation as a result of not getting the JEDI contract. But, here we are.

CNBC reported that in January of 2020, Amazon’s cloud computing arm, AWS, filed a formal motion asking the court to pause Microsoft’s work on the JEDI cloud contract. The court granted that motion today.

Earlier this week, Amazon said that it wants to question President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and former Defense Secretary James Mattis over the JEDI contract. Amazon has stated that the evaluation process included “clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias.”

Personally, I feel like this is a spat between two incredibly rich corporations over a contract that they both want – but neither of them actually need in order to stay in business. I’m finding it hard to care about the outcome of this case.


SpaceX Manned Flight #1424



SpaceX is expected to have it first manned launch in May of 2020. This is exciting news as we will be one step closer from being out from under the nose of the Russians in getting astronauts to the ISS. This will be a monumental achievement. It’s not yet known if they will be going to the ISS on the first launch we can only hope so. No show on Thursday I will be in Los Angeles for Podcast Movement Evolutions.

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Amazon Wants to Question Trump After Losing the JEDI Contract



The saga of the JEDI contract continues! In October of 2019, The Department of Defense chose Microsoft over Amazon for its “Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure” project. The contract could be worth as much as $10 billion over a decade.

In November of 2019, The Washington Post (which is owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon), posted an article stating that Amazon would challenge the Pentagon’s decision on the JEDI project. Today, CNBC reported that Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud computing arm, wants to depose President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and former Defense Secretary James Mattis over the JEDI contract that was awarded to Microsoft.

A spokesperson for Amazon Web Services told CNBC the following:

“President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to interfere with government functions – including federal procurements – to advance his personal agenda. The preservation of public confidence in the nation’s procurement process requires discovery and supplementation of the administrative record, particularly in light of President Trump’s order to ‘screw Amazon.’ The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of the DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends.”

Personally, I don’t think this statement, or the (now unsealed) court documents filed by Amazon, are going to make any difference. The Trump administration has a history of not releasing information that it doesn’t want to. I have no idea why Amazon believes that Trump said ‘screw Amazon’, but honestly, this President has said other crass things, so it wouldn’t surprise me if President Trump actually did say that. I also do not understand why one of the richest companies in the world is so worried about the JEDI contract. It is unimaginable that Amazon needs the money.


U.S. Charges 4 Chinese Military Members in Equifax Breach



The U.S. Department of Justice said that four members of the People’s Liberation Army, an arm of the Chinese military, have been charged with breaking into the networks of the Equifax credit reporting agency, and stealing personal information of tens of millions of Americans, according to the Associated Press.

This is specifically regarding the data breach that Equifax experienced on July 29, 2017 (which it failed to announce until September of 2017.) The Federal Trade Commission announced in July of 2019 that Equifax had agreed to pay at least $575 million, and potentially up to $700 million, as part of a global settlement with the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and 50 states and territories.

The U.S. Justice Department posted today remarks from Attorney General William Barr, in which he announced the indictment of the four “Chinese military hackers”. Here is a small portion of those remarks:

…Today’s announcement comes after two years of investigation. According to the nine-count indictment handed down by a grand jury in Atlanta, four members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, or PLA – Wang Qian, Wu Zhiyoing, Xu Ke, and Liu Lei – are alleged to have conspired to hack Equifax’s computer systems and commit economic espionage. In doing so, they are alleged to have damaged Equifax’s computer systems to have committed wire fraud….

TechCrunch reported that the four alleged hackers were said to be part of the APT10 group, a notorious Beijing-backed hacking group that was previously blamed for hacking into dozens of major U.S. companies and government systems, including HPE, IBM, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


The Sale of Corp.com Could Be Dangerous



Mike O’Connor bought the domain name corp.com in 1994. He is now interested in selling it, but has concerns that someone working with organized cybercriminals, or state-funded hacking groups, will buy it. If that happens, it could be devastating to corporations failed to update the name of their active directory path.

Krebs on Security has a detailed blog about exactly what the problem is. In short, the issue is a problem known as “namespace collision”. It is a situation where domain names intended to be used exclusively on an internal company network end up overlapping with domains that can resolve normally on the open Internet.

If I’m understanding this correctly, it appears that the instructions that Microsoft gave years ago were not entirely understood by people who set up a corporation’s IT system.

Krebs states that for early versions of Windows that supported Active Directory, the instructions gave the default example of a Active Directory path as “corp”. Unfortunately, many corporations quite literally named their Active Directory “corp” – and never bothered to change it to a domain name that they controlled. Then, these corporations built upon it – without renaming “corp” to something more secure.

I recommend that you read the article on Krebs on Security for full details. Tests were done to see what kind of traffic corp.com would receive. More than 375,000 Windows PCs tried to send corp.com information that it “had no business receiving”. Another test allowed corp.com to receive email, and the result of the experiment showed it was soon “raining credentials”.

The big concern right now is that “the bad guys” could buy corp.com and start harvesting the data that countless corporations unwittingly send to it.


Vodafone to Remove Huawei from European Networks



Vodafone is going to strip Huawei systems out of the core of its European network, according to Financial Times. Doing so will cost €200m as the European telecoms sector moves to adapt to new limits on the use Huawei’s equipment. Financial Times reported that Vodofone Chief executive Nick Read said the process would take five years because of the complexity of removing systems critical to its network.

The Guardian reported that Nick Read said the Huawei equipment replacement program would have “very limited financial impact” on its UK operations as they were already mostly compliant with the new government measures.

In January of 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved the use of equipment made by “high-risk vendors”, but restricted access to “sensitive core” parts of the network. It is understood that “high-risk vendors” was a reference to Huawei. The UK will exclude “high-risk vendors” from all “safety critical networks” in the UK.

Huawei posted a statement on its Twitter account about the UK’s 5G decision. The statement said:

“Huawei is reassured by the UK government’s confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track. This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. It gives the UK access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market.”

“We have supplies cutting-edge technology to telecoms operators in the UK for more than 15 years. We will build on this strong track record, supporting our customers as they invest in their 5G networks, boosting economic growth and helping the UK continue to compete globally.”

“We agree a diverse vendor market and fair competition are essential for network reliability and innovation, as well as ensuring consumers have access to the best possible technology.”

Also in January of 2020, the European Union unveiled security guidelines for next generation high-speed wireless networks. Their recommendations don’t specifically call for a ban on Huawei. Instead, its recommendations include blocking high-risk equipment suppliers from “critical and sensitive” parts of the network, including the core, which keeps track of data and authenticates smartphones connecting to cell towers.

That said, individual countries in the EU would be able to decide for themselves what kind of role Huawei will play in their own wireless network infrastructure.