Telecom equipment, networks prone to spyware: Govt

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 2 2012, 03:21am hrs
Telecom equipment and networks are prone to spyware and other forms of malicious software irrespective of the location where they are manufactured, Minister of State for Communications and IT Milind Deora informed Parliament today.

"It is a known fact that in the modern age, telecom equipment and networks used for provisioning of telecom services are prone to spyware/,malwares etc emanating from the equipment itself or embedded software contained in it or from ...anti-national individuals or agencies," Deora said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.

Deora was responding to question on alleged security threat from Chinese telecom equipments.

Spyware is a type of malware (malicious software) installed on electronic gadgets that collects information about users without their knowledge.

He added that "such potential threats exist in the network, irrespective of the sources like telecom gear manufactured in China or supplied by some other vendors."

The minister said that government is aware of recent "Investigative Report on US National Security issues posed by Chinese Telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE" released by Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the US government.

To address security concerns related to telecom network, Deora said the government has issued comprehensive guidelines in the form of licence amendments on May 31, 2011.

"Vide these amendments, it is mandated that Telecom Service Providers are responsible for the security of their network," he said.

The minister said the government has mandated telecom operators to induct only those elements in the network which have been tested as per relevant contemporary Indian or international standards until March 31, 2013.

"From April 1, 2013 the certification shall be got done only from authorised and certified agencies and labs in India.

The copies of test results and test certificates shall be kept by the licensee (telecom operator) for a period of 10 years from the date of procurement of equipment," Deora said.

He said till date no specific issue has arisen due to equipment originating from any specific country.