Lenovo investigating alleged spy agency ban

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Out of favour with western security agencies?

Beijing-based Lenovo has told TRPro that it is "looking into" claims that some of the world's top security agencies have for years banned the use of its computers over security concerns.

According to a report by the Australian Financial Review, "secret" and "top secret" intelligence and security networks in Britain, the US, Canada and New Zealand introduced the ban on using Lenovo's computers in "classified networks" back in the mid 2000s.

The Independent reported that the ban was enforced after tests by Mi5 and the Government cyber security agency GHCQ discovered modifications to microchips found in the state-backed computer maker's machines. The alterations allegedly resulted in hardware and firmware vulnerabilities that allow remote access to devices without the owner's knowledge, it said.

New claims

In a statement to TRPro, Lenovo said: "We have not received word of any sort of a restriction of sales so we are not in a position to respond to this question. We are looking into this situation closely and we'll be sure to share updates when available."

It added: "Lenovo continues to have a strong relationship with government customers, so the claims being made are new to us. We have a well deserved reputation as being transparent and accountable to our shareholders and a wide range of other stakeholders globally.

A Home Office representative refused to comment on whether MI5 and MI6 have banned the use of Lenovo's equipment.

Lenovo, which has defied a shrinking PC industry in the past few years to become the biggest box maker in the world, is not the only Chinese company to have been accused of security wrongdoings.

Huawei was banned from bidding for a large broadband infrastructure contract in Australia last year over concerns relating to security, and the company has since backed out of the US network security market after being repeatedly accused of being responsible for 'back doors' that allow cyber espionage.

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.