Many would think the equipment which the United States Military owns is entirely “Made in America.” Though the products purchased are made here at home. The pieces that make up those products are made from China. Aventura Technologies surveillance cameras and other products have been purchased by the U.S. Military for years.
The boxes the products come in are capped in big letters, “Made in America,” along with the American flag. All of the products purchased from Aventura Technologies have been placed in government agencies throughout the U.S.
They have also been put on aircraft carriers and inside the facilities of the Department of Energy. Last year an Air Force base service member realized the body camera had Chinese emblems on the screen. This week, federal prosecutors took control of the case.
In Brooklyn, New York, prosecutors stated, though the products claim “Made in the USA,” they are actually made in China. This creates a scary situation for our national security as it opens up the windows for China to hack into everything under surveillance. Security networks in all government agencies, the military, and the Department of Energy are all at substantial risk at this very moment of being spied on by the Chinese government.
A forty-page complaint was filed by prosecutors bringing criminal charges against Aventura Technologies from Commack, New York, along with seven employees, both former and current. For more than a decade, these products have been sold under the false pretense of American products.
The hardest thing to deal with is for as many years as this has been going on, how far, and how much information does the China government know about what was hacked into.
National security officials are worried there was potential and opportunity for the Chinese telecommunications products made for espionage. The Justice Department holds records stating 80 percent of the espionage cases were China involved since 2012.
So how serious is this, and what does it mean? Well, President Trump stepped in and banned all American firms from using any technologies not American made. Anything classified could be breached and used against us or selling classified information to enemies.
The order from the president was effective immediately. The Chinese company Huawei, under the move, was banned from business within American companies. Exceptions were only validated through the approval of the United States Government.
According to prosecutors, the supposedly American products which contained Chinese parts included “night-vision and body cameras, automated turnstiles and other security equipment.”
Thursday, six out of the seven offenders were arrested and appeared in the Federal District Court. They are, Jack Cabasso, Frances Cabasso, Jonathan Lasker, Christine Lavonne Lazarus, Eduard Matulik, and Alan Schwartz.
Friday, the seventh person who is Wayne Marino, surrendered himself over to the authorities. Schwartz’s attorney claimed the allegations as “unsubstantiated and unfortunate.” There were no comments from the other’s attorneys.
All of the suspects were charged with illegal importation and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Jack and Frances Cabasso are husband and wife, and extra charges were added for money laundering conspiracy. $88 million worth of sales were made since 2010, with the top customers being all of the government agencies, the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force.
An investigation is still ongoing, so the attorneys and authorities will not comment. Still, they are looking into if any equipment was hacked by China and closing up all loose ends. They are also looking into private sectors where Aventura products were purchased.
U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue, stated, “This software that was then put into U.S. systems was known to have vulnerabilities that would allow others to access those networks.
Obviously, it’s a grave concern to the United States that infrastructure is compromised by hardware and software made in the People’s Republic of China. The authorities are in the process of removing the equipment from government facilities.”
Prosecutors stated, “The scheme’s mastermind was Mr. Cabasso, the 61-year-old owner of Aventura and a resident of Northport.” They sent a memo to hold Cabasso without bail until the trial takes place due to he is a serial con artist and has an extensive criminal background.
He is also known for conducting business with China, which leads government officials to believe the potential was high for hacking. Twelve bank accounts he deals with were frozen, estimating $3 million.
Cybersecurity issues are also a significant problem that arises from major companies conducting their business with China.