Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Security Architecture

Huawei: How the Telecoms Giant is Seen Around the World

US charges against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei have cranked up tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, but the company is already facing obstructions around the world over alleged cyber-security risks.

US charges against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei have cranked up tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, but the company is already facing obstructions around the world over alleged cyber-security risks.

Huawei’s status as a leading supplier of the backbone equipment for telecoms systems — mostly in developing markets — has given China an inside track for spearheading fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology.

5G communications are the next milestone in the digital revolution, bringing near-instantaneous connectivity, vast data capacity and futuristic technologies.

However, fears and that Chinese telecoms companies like Huawei could be proxies for Beijing’s intrusive security apparatus, using the sophisticated infrastructure for espionage, a growing number of Western states turn their backs on the giant.

China has strongly defended its flagship tech group, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi denouncing on Friday an “unfair and immoral” campaign against Huawei.

Here is an overview of how Huawei is seen around the world:

– The United States –

Washington has slapped the strictest restrictions against Huawei, and according to American media, is strongly encouraging its allies to follow suit.

A report in October 2012 by the House Intelligence Committee found Huawei and China-based ZTE could be used to undermine the security of the US, and demanded they be excluded from public contracts.

The committee’s report noted that Huawei, whose founder is a former Chinese army engineer, “did not fully cooperate with its investigation and was reluctant to explain its relations with the Chinese government”.

Despite steering clear of infrastructure projects, a congressional letter issued in December 2017 said Huawei’s equipment remained a “security threat” to the US.

Telecoms groups AT&T and Verizon have stopped offering Huawei smartphones in the US and in August 2018 President Donald Trump signed the military budget for 2019 which prohibited government and military officials from using devices built by Huawei and ZTE.

– Australia, New Zealand, Japan –

Australian authorities banned Huawei from submitting offers for the national broadband internet program in 2012, fearing cyber-attacks.

In the summer of 2018, Australia excluded Huawei from rolling out 5G, saying “the involvement of suppliers likely to be subject to extrajudicial decisions by a foreign government” constituted a security risk.

New Zealand followed suit in November, officially citing technological incompatibility, and Japan came next in December with a ruling aimed at avoiding “information leaks”, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

– Czech Republic –

In mid-December, the Czech cyber-security agency warned against the use of Huawei and ZTE’s software and equipment, claiming it posed a threat to national security.

“Chinese laws require private companies headquartered in China to cooperate with intelligence services,” it argued.

– Poland – 

One of Huawei’s officials in Poland was arrested in mid-January by the internal security service ABW on charges of spying for Beijing. 

A senior government official then said that the country had begun investigating equipment provided by Huawei to assess the risks.

– Countries on alert –

In Britain, where the government has expressed “serious concern”, the operator Vodafone has suspended its purchases of Huawei equipment for its infrastructure in Europe. BT announced in December it would remove Huawei materials from its existing 3G and 4G networks.

Germany remains cautious, with the country’s cyber-crime body (BSI) chairman saying in mid-December: “For decisions as serious as a boycott, you need evidence.”

In France, where two operators use Huawei equipment in their 4G network and conduct 5G tests with it, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian last week raised “risks” regarding Huawei, and an amendment has been proposed in the senate to “ensure the safety of mobile networks” to prevent espionage or sabotage on 5G.

Norway, whose current networks are largely composed of Huawei equipment, is simply thinking of measures to “reduce (its) vulnerability”.

In the midst of a full diplomatic spat with Beijing, the Canadian government told China in mid-January it would continue to mull whether or not to bar Huawei equipment from new networks while rejecting Chinese threats of “repercussions” in the event of a ban.

Written By

AFP 2023

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Identity & Access

Hackers rarely hack in anymore. They log in using stolen, weak, default, or otherwise compromised credentials. That’s why it’s so critical to break the...

Audits

Out of the 335 public recommendations on a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy made since 2010, 190 were not implemented by federal agencies as of December...

Application Security

Fortinet on Monday issued an emergency patch to cover a severe vulnerability in its FortiOS SSL-VPN product, warning that hackers have already exploited the...

Application Security

Big-game malware hunters at Volexity are shining the spotlight on a sophisticated Chinese APT caught recently exploiting a Sophos firewall zero-day to plant backdoors...

Incident Response

Implementation of security automation can be overwhelming, and has remained a barrier to adoption

Endpoint Security

Apple has launched a new security research blog and website, which will also be the new home of the company’s bug bounty program.

ICS/OT

The White House announced on Wednesday that the Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Cybersecurity Initiative has been expanded to include the chemical sector.

Application Security

Password management software firm LastPass has suffered a data breach that led to the theft of source code and proprietary technical information.