The Potential Security Risk of Using Huawei Phones in the UK
Huawei is the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the entire world, as consumers have an option to choose from a wide range of top-quality phones. However, Huawei is a controversial tech company due to the organisation’s close relationship with the Chinese government. Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was also arrested last December in Canada on charges related to covering up sanction violations with Iran. Intelligence officials in the United States and other countries warn that using Huawei smartphones is a national security risk due to the potential of spyware and other privacy concerns.
Mobile Carrier Ban – AT&T and Verizon
Both mobile carriers AT&T and Verizon have dropped plans to carry Huawei’s newest smartphone due to pressure from the United States and other governments. Many of these intelligence agencies cite an enhanced risk of Chinese surveillance and privacy issues for anyone that uses these smartphones. Of course, Huawei executives continue to deny that their smartphone products can spy on unsuspecting users. Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei told reporters earlier this year that his company would always deny any requests to provide sensitive information to government officials and that they do not have regular contact with the Chinese government.
Should UK Users Be Concerned About Security Risks?
While Huawei smartphones have yet to be banned in the UK, a government-led committee has recently warned that it has found significant security issues related to the engineering process of these smartphones. The UK government doesn’t believe that these defects are the intentional result of Chinese interference, but it is primarily due to poor software engineering. In other words, a wide range of entities can take advantage of these security loopholes, and it isn’t just limited to the Chinese government. The annual cybersecurity report from UK officials also stated that Huawei had not made any meaningful progress in addressing these security issues. Ultimately, this report creates even further concerns related to the safety of Huawei products, but British officials have yet to ban Huawei’s involvement in developing 5G telecommunication networks.
Additional Network Security Concerns
One of the main concerns with Huawei is the possibility for the Chinese government to disrupt communications or spy on users that utilise the upcoming 5G network, which is almost 20 times faster than current 4G LTE network technology. However, the design of 5G networks is much more challenging to monitor external interference, which poses even greater risks for anyone that uses the Internet of Things and other advanced technology. Chinese law currently requires domestic businesses to assist the country in gathering intelligence at Beijing’s request, which makes cybersecurity experts even further skeptical about using Huawei smartphones and their 5G capabilities.
Technology will only continue to expand in today’s fast-paced society, and it is essential for UK businesses to understand the privacy risks associated with Huawei smartphones. While these privacy issues may not impact individual users, they have a much more significant effect on businesses that desire to protect trade secrets and keep information confidential from outside governments.