One of the two U.S. laboratories engaged in designing nuclear weapons, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, removed at least two network switches made by H3C Technologies from its systems because devices produced by the China-based manufacturer could be a potential threat to national security.
An internal letter sent by the lab’s chief information officer to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s assistant manager for safeguards and security revealed the detail, according to a report on Reuters.
The lab made the move, even though there is no evidence the devices in question suffer compromise in any way, after a recommendation by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Permanent Committee on Intelligence for U.S. companies and agencies to avoid using devices manufactured by ZTE and Huawei.
It seems that no matter the assurances and offers of testing equipment and source code by the hands of government and independent security experts, U.S. government agencies might have already decided to err on the side of caution and are looking to minimize the attack surface as much as possible.
The Australian government also took its cue from those views and will not allow Huawei compete for lucrative national contracts. The reaction of these two countries could have led to the state-owned telecom China Unicom’s decision to replace all Cisco System devices from one of its major backbone networks.
The letter sent by Los Alamos’ CIO appears to be a reply to the House Armed Services Committee for the Department of Energy’s request for a report on possible supply chain risks.
The Los Alamos laboratory and the National Nuclear Security Administration are yet to comment on the letter.