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Huawei's woes continue

Paul Brislen, Editor. 03 April 2019, 7:51 am

Huawei's woes continue despite offering to build a network and then not run it.

The Chinese telco equipment maker is red faced following a report from the oversight board of the UK's Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) which found that while there were no major security concerns, Huawei's apparently cavalier approach to software development brings "significantly increased risk to UK operators, which requires ongoing management and mitigation."

The report says no material progress had been made on fixing these issues since the year before and Huawei's practices "fell short" of best practice.

"[The] Oversight Board has not yet seen anything to give it confidence in Huawei's capacity to successfully complete the elements of its transformation programme that it has proposed as a means of addressing these underlying defects. The Board will require sustained evidence of better software engineering and cyber security quality verified by HCSEC and NCSC.

"Overall, the Oversight Board can only provide limited assurance that all risks to UK national security from Huawei's involvement in the UK's critical networks can be sufficiently mitigated long-term."

The announcement comes as Huawei New Zealand continues to argue that it should be allowed to build Spark's 5G network, and has even offered to build the network and then let Spark engineers run it, with no input or ongoing involvement from Huawei.

The network, which Spark had hoped to deploy before the America's Cup racing begins in Auckland in 2021, needs approval from the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) which has rejected the proposal citing security concerns. Details as to what issues have been uncovered remain scant, but the move comes amid growing global pressure on Huawei over its alleged relationship with the Chinese military.

Spark began using Huawei equipment after its disasterous XT network launch in 2009 where the Alcatel-Lucent built network first interfered with both Vodafone and 2Degrees' networks and then embarrassingly stopped working. Spark joined 2Degrees in using the equipment maker - Vodafone New Zealand uses Nokia for its mobile network build.

The UK's HCSEC was set up to allow UK investigators full access to Huawei equipment and software to determine whether a security breach exists. So far no such backdoor or security breach has been uncovered despite the centre operating since 2010.


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