German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) investigates Chinese mobile phones

Pierluigi Paganini September 27, 2021

German Federal Office for Information Security is launching an investigation into the cybersecurity of certain Chinese mobile phones.

German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) is launching an investigation into the cybersecurity of mobile phones of certain Chinese manufacturers.

German BSI Chinese mobile phones

The investigation was requested by both the SPD politician Jens Zimmermann and the CDU digital politician Tankred Schipanski.

The decision of the BSI comes after the Lithuanian cyber defense published a report claiming that some mobile phones that are commercialized by Xiaomi and Huawei revealed an undocumented behavior that was possible to trigger remotely by the Chinese vendors.

“Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible,” Lithuanian Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius told reporters during the unveiling of the report from Lithuania’s National Cyber Security Center.

Lithuanian government experts have analyzed three specific smartphone models, the Huawei P40 5G, the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G and the OnePlus 8T 5G. According to the report, Xiaomi phones could be instructed to censor terms such as “Long live Taiwan independence” or “Free Tibet.”

“Xiaomi’s devices do not censor communications to or from its users. Xiaomi has never and will never restrict or block any personal behaviors of our smartphone users, such as searching, calling, web browsing or the use of third-party communication software. Xiaomi fully respects and protects the legal rights of all users.” reads the reply of Xiaomi.

A BSI spokesman told Tagesschau that Chinese manufacturers are already excluded from a list of smartphone vendors that can be officially ordered as service phones by the federal authorities.

Experts fear that Chinese manufactures could have also introduced in their devices hidden features that could give them deep access to any communications through the mobile phones before they were encrypted.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Chinese mobile phones)

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