Press Releases

SBC Examines ZTE Threat to Small Businesses

WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Committee on Small Business heard from a panel of national security experts and cybersecurity firms on the existential threat that the Chinese-owned telecommunications firm, ZTE, poses to American small businesses and citizens.

“Hearings by this Committee have shown that small businesses have become top targets for nefarious state-backed actors because they tend to be the softest targets. They have fewer resources to manage their IT systems and respond to cybersecurity incidents, and they often lack the technical knowledge needed to assess the ever-evolving threats,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “When we talk about existential threats to national security—and that is what ZTE is—it is the federal government’s job to protect Americans and American small businesses.”

Small Business Security is National Security

“These aggressors are seeking to disrupt manufacturing not only through the espionage of intellectual property; but also the destruction of the U.S. supply chain by crippling them both financially and through attacks,” said Mr. David Linger, President and CEO of TechSolve, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH. “In addition to their contributions to the economy, creating jobs, and building products critical to our daily life and defense of this nation, small manufacturers are especially important because they drive innovation. For those of us that work with small manufacturers who have teetered on the brink of closing their doors due to cyber-attacks; their cyber-crimes are personal, real, and distressing.”

“Small business in America is inherently resilient, creative, and able to adapt quickly to market conditions. One thing small business cannot do effectively, however, is compete against nation-state attacks, aggressive, unrelenting international espionage, and theft of trade secrets. And those are exactly the challenges presented by ZTE and Huawei,” said Mr. Andy Keiser, Visiting Fellow from the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School in  Arlington, VA.

“For its part, ZTE has proven to be a particularly bad actor, flouting U.S. export control laws and deceiving regulators. In 2016, the U.S. government found that ZTE violated U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea, by using various U.S. components in systems it sold to those two countries,” said Mr. Matthew G. Olsen, President of IronNet Cybersecurity in Kensington, MD. “The critical national security concern going forward is the risk that ZTE and other Chinese-backed technology firms may pose to U.S. telecommunications and other critical infrastructure—risks that Congress and the intelligence community have amply documented.”

Click HERE to read full testimony and HERE for full hearing video.