Friday, Dec 03

Huawei has security flaws, say British security officials

British security officials say telecoms equipment made by Huawei contains significant flaws, dealing a blow to the Chinese company's hopes of supplying Britain's 5G network.
28.03.2019 - 17:29

In a report published on Thursday, the government-led board that oversees vetting of Huawei gear in Britain said continued problems with the company’s software development had brought “significantly increased the risk to UK operators.”


The board which includes officials from Britain’s GCHQ communications intelligence agency said in the report that the company had made “no material progress” addressing security flaws and it didn’t have confidence in Huawei’s capacity to deliver on proposed measures to address “underlying defects.” The unusually direct criticism is a fresh blow to the world’s largest maker of mobile network equipment, which has been under intense scrutiny in recent months.

Officials in the United States and elsewhere have been increasingly public in voicing concerns that Huawei’s equipment could be used by Beijing for spying or sabotage, particularly as operators move to the next generation of mobile networks, known as 5G. Shenzhen-based Huawei said in a statement it took the oversight board’s concerns “very seriously” and that the issues identified in the report “provide vital input for the ongoing transformation of our software engineering capabilities.”

Huawei pledged last year to spend more than $2 billion as part of efforts to address problems previously identified by Britain but has also warned it could take up to five years to see results.

British security officials previously said they believed any risks posed by Huawei could be managed. In the report, the government-led board said: “These findings are about basic engineering competence and cybersecurity hygiene that give rise to vulnerabilities that are capable of being exploited by a range of actors.” “NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) does not believe that the defects identified are a result of state interference,” it added.

The work of the oversight board and its findings will help inform future government policy on network security, officials say, but the final decision lies with ministers. British officials now need to see evidence of significant change, the report said, adding that Huawei had failed to follow through on security commitments made as far back as 2012.