China Unicom takes out Cisco routers due to security concerns

Telco said equipment could be prone to vulnerabilities and potential loopholes
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China Unicom on Tuesday removed Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) core cluster routers from its China169 backbone network node in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, due to what it said were security concerns.

The service provider, according to a report in Chinese-language news portal 21cbh.com, said that the vendor's equipment could be prone to possible vulnerabilities and loopholes that hackers could get use to disrupt communications or gain access to the telco's network.

Along with China163, which is operated by fellow telco China Telecom, China Unicom's China169 is a key network backbone in China. Both of these networks carry about 80 percent of China's Internet traffic.

These security issues, say security experts, "could paralyze China's information network," adding that they think the two providers should carefully assess the use of using foreign vendor's equipment in major networks like China163 and China169.

Interestingly, China Unicom's decision to remove the Cisco gear out of their network follows an investigation by U.S. lawmakers to assess potential threats posed by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE.

However, the U.S. isn't the only country that has expressed concern over Chinese vendors. In Canada, the government has invoked a "national security exception" allowing it to exclude certain vendors seen as a security risk from projects to build secure communications networks.

Australia has taken a similar stance on Huawei. In March, the Australian government banned Huawei from equipment contracts for the National Broadband Network (NBN).

For more:
- TeleGeography has this article

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