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China says Walmart has some serious security flaws

Walmart logo on building
(Image credit: Walmart)
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Walmart’s Chinese network has a number of alleged serious security flaws, with the retailer ordered to fix them at once, reports have claimed.

Local authorities have told Walmart to fix the 19 vulnerabilities immediately, with police in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen notifying Walmart of the alleged “loopholes”, and later criticizing the retailer for being slow to respond. 

According to China Quality News, the country’s market regulator confirmed the authenticity of the claims, but both parties are currently being silent on the matter, meaning there are no details if these "vulnerabilities" could be used to distribute malware (opens in new tab) onto company endpoints (opens in new tab)

Demonstration of force

Reuters suggests talk of any vulnerabilities is just a power play by the Chinese authorities, whose relationship with Walmart has already been damaged after its members-only warehouse organization, Sam’s Club, was accused of deliberately removing products sourced from Xinjiang from its apps and stores earlier this month. 

Xinjiang is a Chinese province that made headlines when stories of abuse of national minorities, mostly Uyghurs and other Muslims began appearing. China denies any such accusations, but criticized Sam’s Club as “stupid and short-sighted”. 

Walmart’s warehouse arm, on the other hand, described the product removal as a “misunderstanding”, saying it wasn’t intentional. 

In the Far East, most of the American tech giants, such as Facebook, Google, or YouTube, are banned. The US, on the other hand, often accuses China of state-sponsored cyberattacks against large corporations, non-profits, and government institutions in the US, whose goal is often data theft and espionage. China denies all accusations. 

During the Trump administration, some of China’s largest tech manufacturers, such as ZTE, Huawei, or Xiaomi, were blacklisted, and US companies were prevented from doing business with them. As a result, Huawei was forced to stop powering its devices with the Android operating system, and instead developed its own, called HarmonyOS, or HongmengOS. 

As of October 2021, more than 120 million devices ran on HarmonyOS.

China also heavily regulates domestic internet traffic, through a combination of legislative actions and technologies, nicknamed the Great Firewall (opens in new tab) of China.

Via Reuters (opens in new tab)

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.