||| Ivan Cholakov | Dreamstime |||
There is an unwritten law US companies are aware of, which is that Chinese firms are not supposed to see US company tech secrets, which goes hand in hand with the written legal ruling that no US telecommunications companies can be taken over by Chinese peers.
If the Chinese conglomerates ZTE or Huawei would try to buy into AT&T or Sprint, they will either get blocked by the Federal Trade Commission or the Pentagon will rule that this could harm US Defense interests as they are operating with the same systems. The same goes for defense systems by Lockheed, Honeywell and UTC.
From that point of view, it seems quite strange that the sales department at HP did not consider these factors when they tried to win a Russian government contract.
Hewlett Packard allowed an agency of the Russian Defense ministry to review the software system they had provided to the Pentagon to guard it’s network.
The HP system, which is known as ArcSight, works as a cyber-security nerve center for the U.S. military. Regulatory documents of the Russian FAS service, which is supposed to write up Russian ministry spending, revealed that ArcSights’s source code was reviewed by the ministry of defense in Moscow before being purchased from HP.
Let me run this by you again. The Russian ministry of defense saw the source code that protests the US ministry of Defense.
Mr Greg Martin, who used to be a programmer at HP for ArcSight: “It’s a huge security vulnerability. You are definitely giving inner access and potential exploits to an adversary.”
The review in question already took place last year just when Washington was starting to accuse Moscow of an increasing number of cyber attacks against American companies, U.S. politicians and government agencies, including the Pentagon.
The sale highlights the tension for US technology companies as they must start to weigh the possibility of selling their products to China or Russia versus how important these can be for US national security.