DOD Issues Cybersecurity Warning Against Lenovo Computers, Handheld Devices
The Department of Defense is concerned that computers and handheld devices produced by China-based company Lenovo could be used to spy on Pentagon networks, according to a recent internal study.
The report, produced last month by the J-2 intelligence directorate, also warned that Lenovo is looking to buy American IT firms that would give the company better access to the Pentagon’s classified information and introduce compromised hardware into the Defense Department networks, posing cyber espionage risks.
“Although we are concerned any time another nation or individual attempts to initiate intelligence collection against the Department of Defense, we do not discuss internal assessments,” said a Joint Staff spokesman.
The J-2 report also contained a warning that Lenovo was seeking to purchase American information technology companies in a bid to gain access to classified Pentagon and military information networks.
In the past, Lenovo equipment was detected “beaconing,” or secretly communicating with remote users during the course of cyber intelligence-gathering, according to one official who added that “There is no way that that company or any Chinese company should be doing business in the United States after all the recent hacking incidents.”
According to the Washington Free Beacon, “about 27 percent of Lenovo Group Ltd. is owned by the Chinese Academy of Science, a government research institute. In April, a Chinese Academy of Sciences space imagery expert, Zhou Zhixin, was named to a senior post in the Chinese military’s new Strategic Support Force, a unit in charge of space, cyber, and electronic warfare.”
A spokesperson with the Pentagon said the Defense Department has not imposed a blanket ban on all Lenovo products, and does not blacklist suppliers or individual products.
The National Security Agency has previously linked China to cyber spying reports against the Pentagon, as well as U.S. and foreign defense contractors, the report stated.
News of the internal study comes days after House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte questioned the FBI for more details about a senior Clinton campaign adviser who used a Lenovo computer to sort her personal from her private emails.
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