UK committee remains wary of Huawei telco equipment in annual report

Kyle Chua

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UK committee remains wary of Huawei telco equipment in annual report
The United Kingdom's Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre Oversight Board says it can only provided 'limited assurance' that risks relating to Huawei's involvement in UK networks have been sufficiently mitigated

MANILA, Philippines – Huawei, amid strengthening efforts from the US government to ban its equipment from their networks, is also currently facing criticism in the UK for alleged engineering shortcomings.

The annual report authored by Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) Oversight Board claims that the technical issues identified in the Chinese telecommunication giant’s engineering process pose “new risks” to the UK telecommunications network.

“The Oversight Board can provide only limited assurance that any risks to UK national security from Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s critical networks have been sufficiently mitigated,” the report added.

Huawei acknowledged the government panel’s criticism of its engineering process and welcomed feedback. The firm’s involvement in fixing the issues presented is integral as the report said “significant work” will be required to manage the security risks.

“Cyber-security remains Huawei’s top priority, and we will continue to actively improve our engineering processes and risk management systems,” a Huawei spokesperson told BBC News.

The body of the report was written in cooperation with UK security officials, including ones from Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a spy agency that works with signals intelligence.

The report highlighted a visit to Shenzhen in 2017 by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a government organization part of GCHQ dealing with cyber security, that revealed the company failed to control its use of third-party components.

“NCSC identified that not all components are managed through this process and, in particular, security critical third-party software used in a variety of products was not subject to sufficient control,” as described in the report.

Meanwhile, the report also said that there has been “a lack of progress” in dealing with the identified issues of previous reports.

Huawei, in 2017, became the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment according to UK-based research firm IHS Markit. The Chinese giant led the said market that year with a 28% share, surpassing Sweden’s Ericsson at 27%. The next three spots are occupied by Finland’s Nokia with 23%, China’s ZTE with 13%, and South Korea’s Samsung with 3%. The company, currently, is focusing efforts to be one of the first to roll out 5G technology, including a phone prototype next year. –


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