Chinese, Russian equipment used by Lithuanian residents might spy on them – official

  • 2020-04-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Chinese, or allegedly made in Asia but in fact Russian, equipment widely used in Lithuania and all over the world might be used to spy on residents and businesses and collect data, Lithuania's Vice Minister of National defense Edvinas Kerza says.

Presenting the 2019 National Cyber Security Status Report on Thursday, the vice minister paid attention to the fact that specialists from the National Cyber Security Center physically analyzed one of the most popular wireless routers used by Lithuanians at home and found that it sends data to servers in Russia.

"They are still widely used since they are budget-class and fairly efficient, i.e., fast and inexpensive routers. And since they were also put in a very attractive package in terms of marketing, by telling consumers that big bonuses are waiting inside the box, so their popularity was such that even some internet providers used them and installed them for their clients," Kerza said.

In his words, businesses and distributors "acted very responsibly" and removed those products from the market but residents still use them.

Rytis Rainys, director of the NCSC, said the investigation that lasted several months revealed that routers had pre-installed DNS settings and directed the service to Russia-based servers. EU institutions also got interested in the investigation, he said.

Kerza also paid attention to the situation that products produced in Taiwan, China and Russia do not meet security standards, and ordered institutions to create certification schemes, meaning that an EU member state will have to certify any object to be connected to the internet for that object to be distributed within the Community.

According to Kerza, some 90 percent of wireless routers used in Lithuania are produced in China or Taiwan.

"And we found that even though they were supposed to be produced in Taiwan, they were in fact produced in Russia," the vice minister said.