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UK concerned over security of Huawei devices

According to a report published by the UK government covering Huawei’s mobile and broadband infrastructure equipment concludes that “There is only a limited assurance that kit poses no threat to national security.”

According to the investigation, the Chinese firm has flaws in their engineering processes, which the report said, “exposes new risks in UK telecom networks”, furthermore, it required significant work to address the issues.

Huawei has also acknowledged the areas lacking and needs improvement in a response. Huawei’s spokesperson said, “We are thankful to the UK government for pointing out the issues and we are committed to addressing these problems.” Cybersecurity is one of the main priorities of Huawei and the company will continue to actively improve its engineering processes and risk management systems, he added.

Huawei is the world’s largest manufacturer of telecom equipment; it is the major supplier of mobile and broadband network gear in the UK as well.

Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Center (HCSEC) produced the report which was established after the concerns raised that BT and other telecom’s using Huawei’s equipment could be a threat. HCSEC was watched by the UK security officials including some from spy agency GCHQ.

The detailed report also highlighted several other shortcomings, including the visit to Shenzhen in 2017 which revealed that the company failed to keep a proper eye on the use of third-party components.

However, not all the components are managed through this process, particularly; security critical third-party software used in various products had a limited control, the report said.

The move comes after the US streamline efforts to ban Huawei’s equipment to be used in the country’s network. Similar, approach is also being considered by Australia, the country is planning to ban the Chinese firm to be involved in country’s 5G network development because Australia has concerns that Beijing could force the company to reveal sensitive data, Reuters reported.

This is the UK’s fourth annual report into Huawei. The previous three concluded that any risks posed by the firm to the UK’s national security “had been mitigated”.

Unrestricted interference

Alan Woodward the security expert and adviser to GCHQ concluded: “You can clearly conclude that Huawei is not providing what UK government wants, the company is failing to prove that its equipment can safely be used with confidence without posing any threat to national security.”

He added that an earlier warning given by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) about using equipment from another Chinese firm ZTE had highlighted Beijing had passed new laws giving it the right to interfere with its products.

“It becomes really critical in this scenario In that this unit can be totally confident in any equipment being sourced from Chinese companies,” said, Woodward.

Huawei, on the other hand, has assured the commitment to improving its engineering processes and would provide secure and safe equipment to the customers, however, the UK government seems to be pulling outsourcing from the Chinese firm.