Chinese Military Ditching Microsoft Windows To Avoid CIA’s ‘Hefty Arsenal Of Hacking Tools’
Weeks after it was announced that Huawei will develop its own alternative to Android OS after being banned by Google from using it, ZDnet reports that the Chinese military will drop an alternative to Microsoft Windows.
While the decision hasn’t been made official, it was reported earlier this month by Canadian military magazine Kanwa Asian Defense, which noted that Beijing won’t just jump over to Linux – and will instead develop their own over fears of US surveillance (and of course, in retaliation for Huawei’s blacklisting).
Thanks to the Snowden, Shadow Brokers, and Vault7 leaks, Beijing officials are well aware of the US’ hefty arsenal of hacking tools, available for anything from smart TVs to Linux servers, and from routers to common desktop operating systems, such as Windows and Mac.
Since these leaks have revealed that the US can hack into almost anything, the Chinese government’s plan is to adopt a “security by obscurity” approach and run a custom operating system that will make it harder for foreign threat actors — mainly the US — to spy on Chinese military operations. –ZDnet
The new OS will be developed by a newly established “Internet Security Information Leadership Group” as reported by the Epoch Times, citing Kanwa.
The group does not trust the “UNIX” multi-user, multi-stroke operating system either, which is used in some of the servers within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Kanwa reported. Therefore, Chinese authorities ordered to develop an operating system dedicated to the Chinese military.
The group also believes that the German-developed programmable logic controller (PLC), used in 70 percent of China’s industrial control system today, poses huge risks to China’s national security. In its opinion, China is not a “network superpower,” but merely a “network giant,” Kanwa reported. Therefore, Chinese authorities have laid out plans to upgrade China’s network—to become more advanced in cyber technology. –Epoch Times
Huawei, meanwhile, is dropping Android OS for its own operating system, code-named HongMeng. It should be ready to launch in late 2019 domestically, and sometime in 2020 for international markets, according to TechRadar.
Google announced on May 20 that it would partially cut off Huawei devices from using the Android operating system, however the Mountain View – based company was given an extension until August 19 by the White House. Other tech companies which have blacklisted Huawei include Qualcomm, ARM, Micron and several tech industry standards organizations such as Bluetooth, SD and WiFi alliances.
“Huawei knew this was coming and was preparing. The OS was ready in January 2018 and this was our ‘Plan B’. We did not want to bring the OS to the market as we had a strong relationship with Google and others and did not want to ruin the relationship. Now, we are rolling it out next month,” said Huawei’s Managing Director and VP of the Middle East Enterprise Business Group.
The OS, which could be called Ark OS when launched, is expected to be compatible with mobile phones, computers, tablets, TVs, connected cars, smartwatch, smart wearables and others.
All applications that work with Android are expected to work with this new OS without any need for further customization, Elshimy claims, adding that users will be able to download apps from the Huawei AppGallery. –TechRadar
It is unknown whether apps available via Google’s Play Store will be carried in Huawei’s store.