Security Experts:

China Mandates Cybersecurity Reviews for Tech Product Acquisitions

New rules that will take effect on June 1 require critical information infrastructure operators in China to conduct cybersecurity reviews when acquiring network products and services.

The new rules were first mentioned in the controversial cybersecurity law adopted by China in 2017, and a dozen Chinese government agencies have now shared more information on how tech products should be analyzed.

The list of products and services that should be reviewed include core network equipment, high-performance computers and servers, large-capacity storage systems, large-scale databases and applications, cybersecurity solutions, and cloud services.China mandates cybersecurity reviews for tech acquisitions

The goal, according to Chinese authorities, is to ensure supply chain security and to defend national security. New America provides a full translation of the new rules and the announcement made by Chinese authorities.

The cybersecurity review must be conducted within 45 working days, but the period may be extended by 15 days in certain circumstances. The analysis must focus on the risk of unauthorized control or destruction of critical information infrastructure, as well as the risk of data theft, leakage and destruction. Organizations also need to determine if using a product or service can cause harm to business continuity, and if the vendor is in compliance with China’s laws and regulations.

“Regarding purchasing activities that are to undergo cybersecurity review, operators should require product and service providers to cooperate with the cybersecurity review through procurement documents or agreements, etc., including a commitment not to exploit the supply of products and services as a convenient way to illegally gain access to user data, illegally control and operate user equipment, or break off product supply or necessary technical support without reasonable grounds,” the new regulations state.

Many have raised concerns that the new rules seek to restrict the use of foreign solutions, but the Chinese government has denied the allegations, claiming that the goal of the new rules is simply to safeguard national cybersecurity.

Over the past year, the United States has banned or threatened to block the products and services of several Chinese companies over national security concerns, including Huawei, ZTE, China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile.

Related: Huawei Denies Being Bound by Chinese Spy Laws

Related: Huawei and Supply Chain Security - The Great Geopolitical Debate

Related: China Slams US for 'Economic Bullying' of Huawei, ZTE

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.