Apparently, the reason there is a lack of evidence for the stolen source code is that those pesky Chinese remotely wiped the code from the routers afterwards.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Huawei and its Silicon Valley subsidiary stole operating system code and other data needed to make routers, and used the pilfered secrets to make Huawei-branded routers sold in the US.
The indictment also alleges that five other unnamed US firms were targeted. Cisco is not mentioned by name in the indictment, and is called "Company 1."
But the indictment cites a lawsuit filed in Texas against Futurewei and Huawei over the alleged router-data theft.
The indictment alleges that when the Texas litigation started, Futurewei and Huawei claimed to have already removed misappropriated code from products, and recalled routers containing that code.
However, the firms had erased the memory drives of the recalled routers and sent them to China before they could be accessed, "thus destroying evidence of Huawei and Futurewei's illicit conduct", the indictment claims.
"Also, in an effort to destroy evidence, Futurewei attempted to remotely access Huawei routers that had already been sold in the United States and erase the misappropriated source code contained therein", the indictment alleges, without saying whether the government believes the attempted erasure was successful.
The indictment does not make clear how US prosecutors believe Futurewei and Huawei obtained the copyrighted code in the first place, and hopes that the court will believe that it managed to get the code by "hiring or attempting to hire Company 1 employees and directed these employees to misappropriate Company 1 source code".
The two companies engaged in "flagrant plagiarism" of Cisco's user manuals for routers, the suit alleged.
All this is supposed to have happened 18-20 years ago, claim the Americans who appear to be grasping at straws. After all the case was settled out of court and at the time the US could not be bothered bringing criminal charges against anyone. Wiping the code would be part of any patent/trademark dispute.
However, now the US seems to think this proves Huawei 5G gear can’t be trusted because of spying backdoors and they are spying on US companies for the Chinese government.
More recent Cisco backdoor router news was in 2013, revelations made by German paper Der Spiegel showed that the NSA was taking advantage of certain backdoors in Cisco’s routers. Cisco denied accusations that it was working with the NSA to implement these backdoors.
In 2017, Cisco, with help from a Wikileaks data leak, discovered a vulnerability in its own routers that allowed the CIA to remotely command over 300 of Cisco’s switch models via a hardware vulnerability.
Last year five undocumented backdoors were found Cisco’s routers so far, and it isn't over yet. In March, a hardcoded account with the username “cisco” was revealed. The backdoor would have allowed attackers to access over 8.5 million Cisco routers and switches remotely.