China's Newest Threat to Western Civilization Could Be In Your Home Right Now

The U.S. and U.K. banned Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd from its 5G telecoms networks citing national security threats from China. 

The U.K. also cracked down on the surveillance equipment from Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., Ltd, which Washington has already blacklisted.

Recently, the U.S. explored restrictions on shipments of chipmaking tools to China's leading chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.

However, the countries seemed to have overlooked the tiny components made by Chinese companies in devices connected by the Internet of Things, the Financial Times reports.

 IoT products fitted with data-transmitting sensors and connected over WiFi networks have evolved from niche industrial applications to being omnipresent in homes, offices, and some vehicles and becoming a critical component of national infrastructure. 

However, China could reportedly exploit the same data from IoT devices to influence, pressure, or threaten an adversary, company, or individual.

Three Chinese manufacturers hold over 50% of the global market share of cellular IoT modules. Between them, Quectel, Fibocom, and China Mobile provide modules to several Chinese companies, including Huawei, Hikvision, and DJI, linked to the repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. However, the three companies have disputed these ties. 

The products of these three companies are under scrutiny in the U.S., U.K., and Europe. However, Western producers, including Tesla, Inc TSLAIntel Corp INTCDell Technologies Inc DELL, and Parrot Sa PAOTF, use the same underlying cellular IoT modules.

Recently, CISA, the U.S. cyber security agency, warned of critical vulnerabilities in Chinese-made GPS-enabled IoT devices in cars and motorcycles.

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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