United Kingdom concludes it can mitigate risk from Huawei equipment use in 5G

Posted February 20, 2019

Despite today's reports, the official findings of the NCSC investigation may not be made public for some time, with a DCMS spokesperson telling the FT that the review of 5G security is "ongoing".

The conclusion, which contradicts USA claims about "risks" posed by Huawei equipment, has been reached by Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), according to the sources cited by FT. The US argues that 5G is too complex to track interference from a provider so has banned Huawei from key components of its introduction, as have Australia and New Zealand.

Huawei has faced a storm of controversy in recent months, with the United States suggesting its telecoms kit could be used by China to spy on western countries.

Whatever risk Huawei's work on national 5G infrastructure may bring, it can be managed and mitigated, the UK's top security body has said.

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What are the security concerns over Huawei?

In addition to banning officials from spending money on Huawei equipment, the United States government has been trying to convince other countries to follow its lead and shun the company.

Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant, also a world leader in 5G technologies, has been accused by the USA of conducting espionage with its high-speed telecommunications systems.

The federal government is weighing Huawei's possible participation in 5G wireless systems that will allow Canadians to do more on cellphones and other internet-connected devices at vastly greater speeds. Huawei did get another round of bad publicity in December 2018, when the company CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on suspicion of bank fraud.

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"China has not and will not require companies or individuals to collect or provide foreign countries' information for the Chinese government by installing backdoors or other actions that violate local laws", said Geng.

Former GCHQ head Robert Hannigan recently commented to the same paper that the organisation had "never found evidence of malicious Chinese state cyber activity through Huawei", dismissing the 5G worries as "nonsense".

While NCSC did not directly comment on the FT report, it reiterated earlier concerns about Huawei's engineering and security capabilities.

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