FCC Now Urges To Blacklist Chinese IoT Module Firms Quectel and Fibocom Wireless. Why?

IoT Security

The US lawmakers have argued that the US medical equipment, vehicles and farm equipment utilizing these Chinese modules could be remotely accessed and controlled from China

In an effort to wipe out USA’s national security threats, Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman at the Federal Communications Commission has urged the government agencies to closely monitor Chinese firms such as Fibocom Wireless and Quectel, claims Reuters. Mike Gallagher, the Republican chair of the House of Representatives China Select Committee and the democrat leader Raja Krishnamoorthi has requested FCC to scrutinize the two companies that manufactures cellular modules, which are used in connecting IoT devices to the internet.

As per the government order, no federal funds can be utilized to buy equipment from the blacklisted firms and no new equipment from these companies will be allowed by FCC in view of protecting national security. The FCC chairwoman penned a letter to the FBI stating that  the Justice Department, the National Security Agency, the Defence Department and other agencies back on September 1 forwarding the request from the law-makers.

She added that FCC had previously welcomed the opportunity to associate “in addressing this threat, including consideration of the inclusion of this equipment from Quectel and Fibocom on the Covered List," reports the South China Morning Post. In an open reply to the FCC, the US spokesperson for Quectel has told the media that once the modules are sold, their clients or the customers have the right over the data and the company has no access to any of the data collected.

Remote device management is achievable solely through the (original equipment manufacturer) device management platform,” the spokesperson added. He also added that Quectel had contracted security firm Finite State to audit and test the security of its modules.

The Select Committee of the US Congress wrote, "Connectivity modules are typically controlled remotely and are the necessary link between the device and the internet. Serving as the link between the device and the internet, these modules have the capacity both to brick the device and to access the data flowing from the device to the web server that runs each device."

Previously, the FCC had blacklisted 10 Chinese and one Russian firm such as Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Hytera Communications Corp, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Zhejiang Dahua Technology. In fact, the US lawmakers have argued that the US medical equipment, vehicles and farm equipment utilizing these Chinese modules could be remotely accessed and controlled from China.


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