A British cyber security official has described technology firm Huawei’s security as ‘shoddy’, claiming that the Chinese firm still has a lot of work to do, Reuters has reported.
“Huawei as a company builds stuff very differently to their Western counterparts. Part of that is because of how quickly they’ve grown up, part of it could be cultural – who knows,” said Ian Levy, technical director of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre.
“What we have learnt is (as) a result of that, the security is objectively worse, and we need to cope with that.”
The UK position on Huawei’s involvement in 5G has not been finalised, Bloomberg reported.
In May, the UK’s National Security Council recommended Huawei should be allowed to build some parts of Britain’s 5G networks, the news agency said.
The UK government is sending a delegation to the US to seek clarity on how president Donald Trump’s decision to place Huawei on an export blacklist affects companies.
Britain is conducting a review of the telecom supply chain, which was originally due for publication in the first quarter of this year but has been pushed back to an uncertain date. The findings of that review will be crucial in determining what role – if any – the UK allows Huawei to have in its emerging 5G infrastructure, Bloomberg reported.
“Certainly nothing is perfect, certainly Huawei is shoddy, the others are less shoddy,” Levy said.
“To be fair, they have a lot of work to do, and I think they know that,” he said. “You wouldn’t expect to have, in six months since we published that report, less than that, them coming out going ‘we’ve fixed it.”
Huawei has been caught up in a trade war between Donald Trump’s America with China. Last month US firm Google indefinitely suspended its business relationship with Huawei.
This means Huawei will no longer be able to offer new customers access to Google’s Android operating system while current Huawei customers will not be able to download future Android system updates.
South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association pointed out that Huawei has been granted some reprieve in the form of a three-month Android license. Huawei has also begun to refine its own operating system. Google also confirmed that all Huawei devices currently in use will still have access to Google Play which means continued app updates.
“Finally, Huawei could update all existing phones to the open source version of Android which is not impacted by the trade war between the US and China. Unfortunately, apps like Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps would then only be available via web browser,” WASPA said.