April 7, 2019 ·

Huawei - Are they a threat?

In recent months there has been a a huge amount of attention placed on Huawei and their role in telecommunications. There has been a number of articles and blog post covering the subject.

Upon initial analysis of the situation it is apparent that their is little to no evidence to suggest that Huawei has any malicious intentions.
This reminded me of a number of articles published by both the Huffington Post and the Washington Post. Both claimed they had received reports of tampering with systems from China provided to both Amazon and Apple. After these allegations both Amazon and Apple denied there was any wrong doing and stated that they vetted all of their hardware before deploying it within a production environment.

So why without evidence of previous wrong doing are a number of countries refusing to implement Huawei within their 5G network. After vast sums of both money and resources have already been ploughed into preparation of the 5G networks. There appears to be a huge amount of pressure from the US on the matter. This appears to have forced a majority of The Five Eyes to follow suite leaving the UK still yet to make a decision.

In a recent statement to the BBC, Vodafone took a different stance. They agreed that checks and audits should be carried out before being deployed within critical infrastructure such as telecoms networks. But these audits should be industry wide and not just focused on Huawei. This would include some big players in the telecoms market such as Nokia and Cisco

I had the opportunity to speak to a telecommunications engineer on the matter and found his stance on the matter fell in line with statements from Vodafone.
He explained that the units Huawei would be providing essentially send and receive the signal from a base station. The data is then transmitted to a system of routers and switches. This limits the scope of attack from base station units. However a possible attack vector would be enabling and disabling the signal transmitted from the base station.

Huawei within British telecoms is nothing new, back when the 4G  network was first implement Huawei was a prime choice due to its low cost and in some case no cost at all. They offered to install a vast amount of equipment into the UK's telecoms infrastructure for free to be able to capitalise on growth of the network in future. So why now after 7 years are companies such as BT removing Huawei equipment.

I find it hard to believe that in 7 years if Huawei had any malicious  intention or back doors into the UK's telecoms infrastructure that  nothing has happened.
I could speculate that although Huawei could pose a potential threat to telecoms infrastructure. Their is a slight more political reason for all of this.
The US are forcing the hands of many nations to remove any trace of Huawei or not implement their equipment within new 5G networks. Could this be because of China's grown economy and its rapid leap. To becoming a global super power.

Further speculation would suggest that in recent month if their was anything untoward on any Huawei equipment, security researchers within the telecoms industry would have uncover something.

It will be interesting to see the UK government's stance on this when it gets reviewed. As well as the affect it will have the the implementation and deployment of the 5G networks.

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