Friday, 20 July 2018 06:07

UK report casts doubt on Huawei security processes Featured

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A British Government report claims equipment made by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies has technical and supply-chain issues that expose the UK's telco networks to new security issues.

Reuters  said the report, which was signed off by the country's Government Communications Headquarters spy agency, was released after it was told that UK security officials could now only offer limited assurances on the security of Huawei's UK operations.

But remedial issues are being taken, with a UK National Cyber Security Centre spokesperson saying that a program to sort out an issue with checking internal product code was underway and would be completed by mid-2020.

In February, the UK National Cyber Security Centre said it would continue to work with Huawei, as it would benefit from such collaboration.

Huawei has been under pressure in the US and has been accused of being an avenue for spying by China, charges which it has repeatedly denied.

In Australia, the company is vying for a role in building 5G networks, a bid which the government is likely to deny.

In Britain, Huawei has a Cyber Security Evaluation Centre alongside members of GCHQ, the intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence and information assurance.

The Huawei unit is known as The Cell and monitors threats and backdoors in its own hardware, with the researchers being overseen by the NCSC.

Reuters quoted the British report as saying: "Identification of shortcomings in Huawei’s engineering processes have exposed new risks in the UK telecommunication networks and long-term challenges in mitigation and management."

It said there were technical issues which got in the way of researchers being able to check internal code of products.

Huawei said it welcomed the main findings of the report. "The report concludes that HCSEC’s operational independence is both robust and effective. The Oversight Board has identified some areas for improvement in our engineering processes,” a Huawei spokesman said.

“We are grateful for this feedback and are committed to addressing these issues. Cyber security remains Huawei’s top priority, and we will continue to actively improve our engineering processes and risk management systems.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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