Chinese firm allegedly hacked into BSNL network in A.P.

The Centre told Parliament on Wednesday that an inter-ministerial team had been formed to investigate the hacking of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. network in Andhra Pradesh allegedly by the Chinese telecom equipment-maker Huawei.

In a report on December 30, The Hindu had revealed how India’s top intelligence agencies and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had jointly begun an investigation into the alleged role of Huawei in hacking into BSNL’s network and sabotaging its expansion plans in Rajahmundry in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

“An incident about alleged hacking of BSNL network by Huawei, a Chinese telecom company, has come to notice. The government has constituted an inter-ministerial team to investigate the matter,” Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology T. Killi Kruparani said in the Lok Sabha without going into the details.

Central intelligence and law-enforcement agencies are concerned as Andhra Pradesh has vast coastal areas and is one of the worst affected by the Maoist insurgency.

In probably the first case of its kind, the Centre is investigating corporate rivalry between Huawei and another Chinese company, ZTE, which has bagged the BSNL’s network-expansion project, including in Rajahmundry, that led to the alleged hacking.

In its reply to the DoT in mid-2013, the BSNL’s Andhra Pradesh circle said: “BSC (base station controller that controls several mobile radio base stations in an area) was relocated at Rajahmundry as a part of phase VII ZTE expansions and 10 numbers of BTS were re-homed on a trial basis for confirmation of its satisfactory working before loading actual phase VII sites on it...The BSC was brought down by some (Huawei) company employees due to some inter-corporate rivalry.”