Russia 'Got the Message' on Tech Security, U.S. Spy Chief Says

(Bloomberg) -- William Evanina, director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said he thinks the world’s intelligence community "has been clear" about threats to the West posed by Chinese telecommunications companies, but more vigilance is needed.

"With the growth of technology, we are not keeping up with the ability to defend against cyber vulnerabilities," Evanina said, adding that society’s demand for better and faster cell phones, software and hardware present security risks that may be going unnoticed.

Still, speaking to Brad Stone at Bloomberg’s Sooner Than You Think conference in Paris on Tuesday, Evanina said he believed nations such as China and Russia "got the message" on such issues, as well as on how technology and its role in democracy must not be abused.

Evanina’s comments follow China’s President Xi Jinping recently asking U.S. President Donald Trump to look into reversing a ban on ZTE Corp’s. ability to purchase components from American technology manufacturers -- a move that pushed the Chinese company to the brink of collapse. Huawei Technologies Co., a local competitor to ZTE, is also negatively affected by the Trump administration’s tough stance on China’s tech companies.

An earlier example of this stance on foreign ownership was when Trump blocked Broadcom Ltd.’s proposed acquisition of Qualcomm Inc. -- a decision Evanina said "was reasonable."

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