Chinese telecom titan Huawei launches Blockchain Service platform

Chinese telecom giant Huawei this week launched its blockchain-as-a service (BaaS) platform, CoinDesk reported.

Called ‘Blockchain Service’ or BCS, the new platform would help companies build smart contracts on top a distributed ledger network for a number of use cases.

“Blockchain Service is a high-performance, high-availability, and high-security blockchain technology platform service for enterprises and developers. It can help companies and developers create, deploy and deploy quickly and inexpensively on Huawei Cloud,” the website states.

Based on Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, the platform currently allows clients to build smart contract applications for areas including supply chain, tokenized securities assets, ID verification, and financial auditing. Huawei has been a member of, as well as a contributor to, the Hyperledger blockchain project since October 2016.

Huawei has also release the project’s whitepaper this month. Designed for enterprises, the BCS can be “integrated with existing Huawei Cloud products and solutions to support enterprises move towards the era of cloud in a secure, efficient, and tamper-proof approach, and quickly deploy new solutions and applications.”

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Re: ScaleIO support for 512e (4K) drives


My customer is looking to deploy scaleIO on existing Cisco hardware with 4K drives installed.

I know that native 4K is not currently supported, but these drives (mode number HD18TB10KS4K) also support 512e

Does the current release of ScaleIO support 4K drives with 512e?

What needs to be done in way of configuration to enable this?

What are the gotchas?




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Huawei Developing Solution For Evaluating Blockchain Performance

Since May 2017, the Chinese telecommunications hardware giant Huawei has been developing a set of open-source software solutions collectively known as Project Caliper which, it hopes, will be able to evaluate the performance of different blockchain platforms based on a variety of metrics.

According to a Google Doc ostensibly written by Huawei engineers Haojun Zhou and Victor Hu, the performance indicators that the system can currently measure are “Success Rate;” transactions per second; “Transaction confirmation latency;” and “Resource consumption (CPU, Memory, Network IO,…).” Hu told ETHNews that although the Google document could be edited publicly, the information in it pertaining to the project was accurate at the time that ETHNews accessed it.

The project’s goal is to create a “commonly accepted blockchain benchmark framework” that actors in the blockchain space can agree is a fair and accurate way to assess the relative strengths of different blockchain environments. Zhao and Hu, who note that no such framework currently exists, report that the team at Huawei has been discussing the project with Hyperledger‘s Performance and Scalability Working Group (PSWG), in addition to using the group’s “definitions, metrics and terminology” as a guide in designing its solution.

Project Caliper is not “intended to be an authoritative performance assessment,” nor is it expected to support the publication of results for the sake of comparing different blockchain platforms anytime soon. Instead, its creators hope that it will help members of the blockchain community test blockchain environments themselves, so that they can be better informed as they choose which environments would best suit their projects.

Huawei will consider the project a success if it “attracts many users within or out of the community to use it as the benchmark framework.” By the same token, if a competing project “shows up and the community is more interested in putting more resource on [sic] it over Caliper, a merge should occur and development will be moved to the new project.”

The software currently interoperates with Hyperledger Fabric v1.0.5, Hyperledger Sawtooth Lake v0.8, and Hyperledger Iroha, and its developers hope to investigate and begin trying to integrate with “non-hyperledger DLTs” by December 2018.

The project’s “adaptation layer,” which Zhao and Hu tout as its “key component,” is the software that actually interfaces with other blockchains. It apparently has the capacity to “install” and “invoke” EDCCs, also known as smart contracts, and to “query state from the ledger.”

In addition to Huawei and Hyperledger’s PSGW, the project’s current participants include Hyperchain, Oracle, Bitwise, Soramitsu, IBM, and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

Other leading Chinese tech firms, notably Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent, have also made forays into the blockchain space.


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Is China ready for what US could unleash in trade war?

As rumblings of a trade war between Washington and Beijing grow louder, the Trump administration appears to be gearing up for renewed confrontation with China.

The signs have been clear. Last month, Donald Trump’s move to slap punitive tariffs on solar panels and washing machines, mostly on imports from China, was an opening salvo, while the “renegotiation” of the Nafta and Korea-US (KORUS) free trade agreements has drawn the most attention.

It’s a matter of time before Trump and China embrace the TPP

But these moves are just a small part of the policy arsenal Washington could unleash under the banner of “national security interests” to monitor, control and block commercial activities between Chinese and American entities.

Watch: Trump’s new tariffs spark outcry in Asia

This month Wendy Cutler, a former US government trade official, made an ominous warning towards China, saying the tariffs were “just the beginning of a series of announcements that will be coming”.

There are a variety of show-stopping actions the administration could take, with little or no warning, including: blocking foreign acquisitions or deals with firms and industries Washington considers “nationally sensitive”; new or increased sanctions against individuals, companies and countries; and introducing new export licensing requirements for seemingly benign materials and components – causing rapid disruption to global supply chains.

Locked and loaded, China and the US are heading into a trade war

These scenarios fall under the lengthening shadow of what are known as strategic industries and economic security, through which more than a dozen US federal agencies enforce hundreds of regulations and restrictions.

Any enterprise that fails to realise the gravity of these measures will have calamity visited upon it. Take the example of Chinese telecoms firm ZTE, which recently paid out US$892.4 million in penalties to US government agencies. ZTE violated export controls and sanctions regulations on shipments of US origin materials to Iran and North Korea.

Despite being major trading partners – with all of the benefits this brings to both sides – Beijing and Washington are both pursuing increasingly self-serving agendas based on national security, and that seems destined to intensify.

Trump’s first year failed the China test. His second looks far worse

Important technology sectors have been pulled into the fray and the rivalry has spilled over into cyber warfare, espionage and the militarisation of space.

The consequences of this growing power rivalry are deadly serious. Recent reports of a supposed spy-killing campaign in China, reportedly instigated by Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a CIA-agent-turned mole – are a sobering reminder of this reality.

In the latest round of blocked Chinese business ventures, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last month forced AT&T to back out of a major deal with the Chinese smartphone maker Huawei.

The deal would have made Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment, a major supplier of phones to AT&T’s customers. However, the firm has long been suspected by US lawmakers of links to Beijing’s economic and political policy apparatus. Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, was an officer in the Chinese military.

Why a cooling in China’s economy would be a good thing

Although Huawei is a private company, most US authorities are convinced that virtually all big Chinese companies have murky ties to Beijing’s power circle. The thought of millions of American consumers using Chinese-made phones with secret “back doors” and data-tracking features written into the operating systems was enough to kill the deal.

Since 2012, Huawei had been blocked from selling network equipment to US telecommunications carriers, so the latest rebuff on telephone sales has dealt a major blow to the company, essentially locking it out of the world’s largest economy.

Another recent deal blocked on similar grounds saw Ant Financial, the fintech arm of Chinese internet giant Alibaba, which also owns the South China Morning Post, being barred from purchasing Moneygram, the US money-transfer company. The deal, worth US$1.2 billion, was killed by the Committee of Foreign Investments in the US, on the grounds that Chinese interests would have access to the private data of millions of Americans.

Sovereign wealth funds: just a way for China and Russia to flex muscles?

In the current climate in Washington, espionage and sabotage are on equal footing with the fear of losing competitive advantage in critical sectors, particularly in semi-conductors, artificial intelligence and robotics.

In September, the Trump administration took its first major action when it blocked Canyon Bridge Fund – owned by Chinese state-backed entities – from buying Lattice Semiconductor Corporation, a cutting edge American tech company. This trend will continue into 2018, and probably intensify, as Chinese firms increasingly target hi-tech acquisitions.

Watch: China-US relations in Trump era

Beijing, of course, is no stranger to blocking foreign companies from operating in its markets. Google, Facebook and Twitter have all been blocked from providing services in rulings motivated as much by security concerns as they were designed to protect local Chinese firms.

The only game in town? Why China will keep buying US Treasury debt

The Chinese are also said to have reacted to Edward Snowden’s divulgence of the NSA’s surveillance activities in China by excluding US vendors Cisco and Apple from approved government supplier lists.

How far will this all go? And will claims of national security serve as instruments of trade protectionism? No doubt, they will.

International businesses should get ready for a bumpy ride ahead.

Alex Capri is a visiting fellow at the Department of Analytics & Operations at National University of Singapore Business School


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Huawei and ZTE come under fire from FBI, CIA, NSA

It isn’t exactly a secret that the US government has a certain hesitancy when it comes to phones made by Chinese companies, but today, we’re seeing some top security official state that apprehensiveness outright. Many top security officials have come out and recommended that Americans avoid buying phones made by Huawei and ZTE. Such a recommendation won’t really come as much of a shock, and may even do something to solidify some recent rumors we’ve been hearing.

According to CNBC, six of the country’s top intelligence chiefs have advised the Senate Intelligence Committee that Americans shouldn’t buy phones made by Huawei or ZTE. That roster of intellgence chiefs includes some high profile people, including the heads of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the US director of national intelligence. While these recommendations have existed in the past for those who work for the government, this is the first time that the agencies have advised private citizens on the matter.

By using these phones, FBI director Chris Wray argues, it opens up the potential for “foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks.” Some of the downsides Wray covers are things like undetected espionage, or the capacity to “exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure.”

Huawei, for its part, tells CNBC that it “poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor.” The company also noted that it is “trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide,” suggesting that this worry is unique to the US.

Huawei has been having a tough time trying to break into the US, and recent rumors claim that the US government is at least partly to blame. Last month, AT&T abruptly called off a deal to carry Huawei phones in its stores, and later reports stated this was due to pressure from the US government. We also recently heard that Verizon had dropped a similar deal, leaving Huawei to sell phones unlocked in the US.

Whether or not Huawei and ZTE deserve this apprehension is up for debate, but for now, it seems the US government isn’t interested in the perceived risks associated with having those companies gain a foothold in the market. We’ll see if that changes anytime soon, but given the looming threat of cyberwarfare, US security agencies are likely to stay the course for now. Stay tuned.


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Verizon Kills Plans For Selling Huawei Phones Following US Government Pressure

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Huawei has just experienced another setback in its efforts to partners with a major U.S. wireless carrier to sell its smartphones. Verizon was in discussions to sell smartphones from the Chinese OEM, but those talks have hit a brick wall. Huawei ran into similar trouble with AT&T earlier this year.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, U.S. lawmakers put pressure on both AT&T and Verizon to scrap any plans to sell Huawei smartphones to Americans. According to the government officials, there are serious concerns regarding Chinese spying and the possibility that backdoors could be installed on devices.

For its part, Huawei officials acknowledge that breaking into the U.S. market is a bit harder than previously expected. “The U.S. market presents unique challenges for Huawei, and while the Huawei Mate 10 Pro will not be sold by U.S. carriers, we remain committed to this market now and in the future,” said the company in a statement earlier this year following AT&T’s decision for to pull out of a deal.

At CES 2018, Huawei CEO Richard Yu reflected on his company’s troubles with U.S. wireless carriers. “Everybody knows that in the US market that over 90 percent of smartphones are sold by carrier channels,” said Yu. “It’s a big loss for us, and also for carriers, but the bigger loss is for consumers, because consumers don’t have the best choice.”

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Yu went on to explain that Huawei has had to prove itself time and time again since its inception. “We win the trust of the Chinese carriers, we win the trust of the emerging markets,” said Yu. “And also we win the trust of the global carriers, all the European and Japanese carriers.” Unfortunately for Huawei, the U.S. government isn’t receptive to its advances.

Despite striking out with America’s two largest wireless carriers, the company is not completely out of the game. Major U.S. retailers including Best Buy, Amazon, Microsoft, Newegg, and B&H will sell the Mate 10 Pro starting on February 18th. Pre-orders for the smartphone will kick off on February 4th.

Back in 2012, both Huawei and ZTE were labeled as security threats to the U.S. by the House Intelligence Committee. “Neither company was willing to provide sufficient evidence to ameliorate the Committee’s concerns. Neither company was forthcoming with detailed information about its formal relationships or regulatory interaction with Chinese authorities,” wrote the congressional panel at the time.

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“Huawei, in particular, failed to provide thorough information about its corporate structure, history, ownership, operations, financial arrangements, or management. Most importantly, neither company provided sufficient internal documentation or other evidence to support the limited answers they did provide to Committee investigators.”

More recently, the Trump administration has reportedly tossed around the idea of a nationalized 5G wireless network. The reason for such a network would be to fend off threats from countries like China and Russia. Cyberwarfare and cyberespionage are increasingly becoming problems in our always-connected world, and countries are looking for additional ways to fortify their defenses.


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Lawmakers Urge AT&T to Cut Ties with Huawei, Citing National Security Concerns


The Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei is bidding to snap up market share in the United States, but lawmakers in Congress are urging AT&T to cut its ties to the phone manufacturer and work with other companies. It’s not the first time Huawei’s government ties have caused heartburn on Capitol Hill, and it comes just a week after Huawei’s US launch of the Mate 10 was reportedly scrubbed at the last second.

These new allegations are from Reuters, which reports US lawmakers also oppose plans from the Chinese telecom China Mobile Ltd to enter the US market. Issues identified by the regulators as problematic also include an AT&T-Huawei collaboration over the emerging 5G standard and AT&T subsidiary Cricket selling Huawei phones as well. Apparently the problems are serious enough that lawmakers have been warning corporations that deploy Huawei hardware that they may not be eligible to work on government contracts.

Huawei’s global market share has risen sharply over the past few years, including strong gains in a matter of months.

If you’re thinking this all sounds rather familiar, well, you’d be right. Both the Trump and Obama Administrations have sounded similar warnings on Huawei over the years. The result is a US smartphone market that’s somewhat different from the globe as a whole. Samsung and Apple are still the top two device manufacturers worldwide, but from there the list diverges. Globally, Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo round out the top five (Others claims a 41.7 percent share of the market). In the United States, LG, Motorola, and HTC round out the top five, or did as of a year ago.

In 2012, both Huawei and ZTE were the subject of a US government investigation into whether their networking equipment and mobile phones offered loopholes or backdoors that could be exploited by actors working for the Chinese government. The government found neither company’s responses sufficient, but hammered Huawei in particular for failures in transparency. Huawei refused to explain aspects of its corporate structure, its ties to the Communist Party, the results of a 1999 tax fraud audit, the situation in which that audit was dropped, or any financial documents that would support Huawei’s claim to operate as a completely independent entity from its parent organization.

While none of Huawei’s potential US partners have said much about the report, Huawei and ZTE handsets remain rarities in the US market. And in a way, that’s a shame. The US market could benefit from better competition in handsets, particularly at the lower end where low-cost Android devices now offer surprisingly good performance for your dollar. Unfortunately, the past few years has also emphasized both the pervasive security problems posed by mobile devices (including the IoT) and the degree to which cyberwarfare has decidedly real-world consequences. From disinformation campaigns to attacks levied at specific sites or companies, things have gotten more heated. The last thing we need is to deliberately invite such problems to take root.


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US security concerns could stall Huawei’s and ZTE’s 5G expansions

Will U.S. citizens get their first 5G phones from Huawei or ZTE? Not if Congress has its way.

Over the past week, members of Congress have been getting tough on the two Chinese companies, formally identifying both as threats to national security following years of investigations. Today, Reuters reported that unidentified U.S. lawmakers asked AT&T to stop collaborating with Huawei on standards for its next-generation 5G network, and cut ties to Huawei altogether.

The report follows U.S. Representatives Michael Conaway’s and Liz Cheney’s introduction of the Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, a bill to bar the U.S. government from using or contracting with Huawei and ZTE, after a House intelligence committee report concluded that their products were insecure for government and military use.

In the works since well before a September House hearing on Huawei and ZTE, the Congressional actions appeared to coincide with ZTE’s claim at CES that it would launch its first 5G phone in the United States by early 2019 and AT&T’s unexpected decision to kill plans to start selling Huawei phones in this country.

Today’s report suggests that AT&T walked away from Huawei under pressure from government regulators, who were most likely lobbied by the same members of Congress involved in the investigation. It’s unclear whether or how much AT&T was collaborating with Huawei on 5G; the company was reportedly working with Qualcomm and Ericsson prior to announcing its end of 2018 5G network plans, but could easily have had other partners.

There is good reason to be concerned about the security of cellular networks. As VentureBeat reported last week, the upcoming U.S. launches of two 5G networks will mark the beginning of a long-planned drive to put 5G cellular radios everywhere, and within everything.

Designed to add connectivity to billions of devices — securely — 5G is also expected to serve as the networking technology inside next-generation cities and car traffic infrastructures. Consequently, if a foreign government had a secret back door to infiltrate 5G networks, it could take control of entire cities, including all of their 5G-connected devices and vehicles.

That nightmare scenario is the flip side of the “ubiquitous 5G” dream, and the precise reason 5G was built with new security protocols. As Ericsson noted in a 5G security white paper, the ubiquity of 5G will turn virtual vulnerabilities into tangible public safety threats, so 5G networks demand extra protections: integrated attack resistance, multiple layers of encryption, integrity protection against injection or modification of traffic, and authentication superior to username/password combinations, just to name a few. Today, LTE networks running compromised equipment or software can be susceptible to intrusions, and even networks with solid hardware can be taken down by one or more inexpensive devices.

While Trump administration protectionism might otherwise be blamed for the recent Congressional actions, investigations into Huawei’s and ZTE’s potential threats to critical U.S. infrastructure date back to at least 2012, when 60 Minutes and the aforementioned House report spotlighted the concerns. Although ZTE and Huawei are supposedly private companies, ZTE is state-owned and was founded by investors associated with China’s aerospace ministry; Huawei was started by an ex-Chinese military engineer, and has what has been described as an “opaque” corporate structure. Both are suspected of covert ties to the Chinese government, and neither would explain why Chinese Communist Party committees had been set up within their business structures.

In recent years, both companies have been investigated for breaking U.S. laws: Huawei has been accused of assisting an alleged elite cyberwarfare unit of China’s army, as well as bribery, corruption, and immigration violations, while ZTE pled guilty to selling sanctioned computer equipment to Iran, and allegedly obstructed an investigation into the sales.

At the same time, both companies are in the top five for global telecom equipment sales, with significant supply contracts for overseas governments. Their continued growth depends in part upon the United States market, but given the directions Congress is taking, the likelihood of seeing either company making major inroads here has just dropped significantly.


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