CIA, NSA, FBI chiefs warn against buying Huawei and ZTE phones

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Six US intelligence chiefs, including those from the FBI, CIA and NSA, have advised against using Huawei and ZTE phones.

USA distrust of foreign technology vendors has increased after the heads of major American intelligence agencies warned the public not to buy products or services from Chinese smartphone maker Huawei.

Wray warned that such level of power will allow Chinese agencies to exert control over the US communications networks. "It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage", Wray said. Huawei reportedly got users to write fake reviews of the handset, just so it can sell more units.

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As alarming as this sounds, this isn't something new for Huawei, which has been trying to enter the United States market for a while now.

That off-the-cuff speech came after an AT&T deal fell through last second, seemingly at the behest of the same lawmakers warning against purchasing the company's hardware.

Despite these setbacks, Huawei is still selling an unlocked version of its flagship Mate 10 Pro in the US. The phone has not even launched yet in the US. "We've also won spots on all of the European carriers".

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"Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor", a Huawei spokesman told CNBC.

The intelligence chiefs said they were "deeply concerned" about the risks posed by these devices, though Huawei denies any wrongdoing.

Huawei responded to the intelligence chiefs' comments with the following statement: "Huawei is aware of a range of USA government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei's business in the US market".

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USA lawmakers were already pushing a bill that would ban the government from using Huawei and ZTE phones, citing connections between these companies and the Chinese government, but this is the first time that everyday consumers are being warned. The companies' troubles date back at least as far back as 2012, when a House Intelligence Committee cited both as a potential security risks over close ties to the Chinese government.

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